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Breakdown of Everything Everywhere All at Once

Some movies are best experienced during the initial viewing, but their understanding often reveals themselves more clearly upon a second viewing. One such movie is 2023’s Academy Award winning film, Everything Everywhere All at Once written and directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (collectively known as Daniels) and produced by A24. The ambitious film features a complex narrative that blends multiple genres and explores themes of identity, family, and the multiverse.

Plot Summary of Everything Everywhere All at Once

The film follows Evelyn Wang, a struggling laundromat owner who, along with her husband Waymond, discovers a portal that leads to alternate realities. As they navigate through these parallel worlds, encountering different versions of themselves and their loved ones, Evelyn must reconcile with her family, confront deep-seated regrets, and ultimately embrace her true self amidst the chaos of the multiverse

Breaking Down the Writing Structure

Multiverse Concept and Premise

  • Introduction to Multiverse: The film introduces the concept of the multiverse early on, establishing its premise that multiple versions of reality exist simultaneously.
  • Character Introduction: The protagonist, Evelyn Wang, is introduced in her mundane life, facing personal and familial challenges.

Inciting Incident

  • Portal Activation: The inciting incident occurs when Evelyn and her husband, Waymond, encounter a mysterious portal that begins to disrupt their reality.
  • Introduction to Crisis: This event propels Evelyn into a crisis where she must confront the ramifications of the multiverse merging and her place within it.

Character Arcs and Development

  • Evelyn’s Journey: Throughout the film, Evelyn undergoes significant character development as she navigates various realities and encounters different versions of herself.
  • Relationship Dynamics: The dynamics between Evelyn and her family members (especially her husband and daughter) evolve as they confront alternate versions of themselves and their relationships.

Rising Action and Conflict

  • Exploration of Realities: Evelyn’s exploration of different realities leads to escalating conflicts, both external (threats from other versions of herself) and internal (self-discovery and acceptance).
  • Unraveling the Mystery: As Evelyn delves deeper into the multiverse, she uncovers secrets and truths about herself and her family that challenge her perceptions and beliefs.


  • Turning Point: The midpoint marks a significant revelation or twist that deepens the stakes and changes the trajectory of Evelyn’s journey.
  • Heightened Tension: Conflict intensifies as Evelyn faces tougher challenges and must make crucial decisions that impact her and those around her.


  • Confrontation and Resolution: The climax involves a pivotal confrontation or series of events where Evelyn confronts the main antagonist or obstacle, often merging various threads of the plot.
  • Character Growth: Evelyn’s growth culminates in a moment of self-realization or acceptance, leading to a resolution of the film’s central conflicts.

Resolution and Denouement

  • Impact of Choices: The resolution shows the aftermath of Evelyn’s journey, highlighting the consequences of her choices and the lessons learned.
  • Closure and Reflection: The denouement provides closure for the characters and themes, reflecting on the transformative journey Evelyn has undergone.

Related: Download Everything Everywhere All at Once Script

Analysis using Dan Harmon’s Story Circle

Let’s analyze Everything Everywhere All at Once through the lens of Dan Harmon’s Story Circle, which is a modified version of the Hero’s Journey, focusing on the character arcs and emotional beats:

  • You (a character is in a zone of comfort)
    • Evelyn’s Mundane Life: Evelyn Wang is introduced in her ordinary life, running a struggling laundromat with her husband, Waymond. She faces familial tensions and struggles with her sense of identity and purpose.
  • Need (but they want something)
    • Desire for Change: Evelyn desires a meaningful change in her life. She wants to reconcile with her daughter, Joy, and find a way to connect with her family despite their differences.
  • Go (they enter an unfamiliar situation)
    • Encounter with Multiverse: The inciting incident occurs when Evelyn and Waymond discover a portal that leads them into alternate realities, where they encounter different versions of themselves and their loved ones.
  • Search (adapt to it)
    • Navigating the Multiverse: Evelyn and Waymond must navigate through various realities, each presenting unique challenges and versions of themselves. They adapt to the complexities of the multiverse and the dangers it poses.
  • Find (find what they wanted)
    • Self-Discovery and Acceptance: As Evelyn explores different realities, she begins to understand herself and her relationships better. She finds different aspects of herself reflected in alternate versions, leading to personal growth and revelation.
  • Take (pay its price)
    • Confronting Challenges and Sacrifices: Evelyn faces escalating conflicts and must make tough decisions that impact herself and her family across realities. The price she pays includes emotional turmoil and difficult choices.
  • Return (return to comfort)
    • Integration and Transformation: The climax involves Evelyn confronting the main antagonist or obstacle that threatens her family across realities. She undergoes a transformation, integrating her newfound understanding and strength.
  • Change (having changed)
    • Resolution and Growth: The resolution shows Evelyn having changed fundamentally by her journey through the multiverse. She achieves a deeper connection with her family and a clearer sense of her identity and purpose.

How It Fits

  • Character Development: The Story Circle highlights Evelyn’s journey of self-discovery and growth as she navigates through different realities and confronts alternate versions of herself. Each stage of the circle reflects her evolving understanding of herself and her relationships.
  • Emotional Arc: The film’s exploration of identity, family dynamics, and existentialism aligns with the emotional beats emphasized in Harmon’s Story Circle. It delves into deep psychological and emotional territory, showing Evelyn’s internal and external struggles.
  • Narrative Complexity: While not strictly adhering to traditional linear storytelling, the film’s nonlinear narrative and multiverse concept provide a unique structure that challenges and engages viewers, much like Harmon’s emphasis on engaging storytelling.

Writing Style and Themes

  • Genre Fusion: The film blends elements of science fiction, action, comedy, and drama, creating a unique narrative that appeals to a broad audience while exploring complex themes.
  • Symbolism and Allegory: Themes of identity, existentialism, and the interconnectedness of choices are explored through symbolic imagery and allegorical storytelling.
  • Character Depth: Each character, including alternate versions of Evelyn and her family, is intricately developed to reflect different facets of humanity and personal growth.
  • Narrative Complexity: The nonlinear storytelling and layered plot contribute to the film’s richness, requiring viewers to engage actively with the narrative to grasp its full meaning.