Lent 2023, Day 30: Everything, everywhere, all at once.

Michelle Yeoh in her Oscar-winning role as Evelyn Wang. [Photo courtesy of A24]

The best movie I’ve watched this year (and to frank, in a long time) hands down is Everything Everywhere All At Once, and Pastor Brendan McLean, writing at The Presbyterian Outlook, makes a case for why Christians (other than me, lol) should watch it:

In another reality in the proverbial multiverse, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” did not win best picture at the 2023 Academy Awards. That was the future I predicted when I first saw the movie in May — and I’ve never been happier to be wrong.

Not only did “Everything Everywhere All at Once” win best picture and six other Academy Awards, but it is also the single most-awarded film of all time with a combined 264 Oscars, Golden Globes, Independent Spirit Awards, and various awards. While it took the movie industry, movie critics and fans, by storm, many people in my congregation still haven’t seen it.

I can understand why. The movie is absurd and violent, with several martial arts fights using props that might even make some of the more open-minded people I know gasp. It has some moments that can be triggering for people in the LGBTQIA+ community who have complicated, strained or painful relationships with their families. It dances closely with nihilism.

But I still think everyone everywhere should see this film.

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is overflowing with ideas, meditations and statements that so easily spill into our spiritual lives. Let me explain further with three quotes.

“You are not unlovable. There is always something to love. Even in a stupid, stupid universe where we have hotdogs for fingers, we get very good with our feet.”

The lead of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is Evelyn Wang, a Chinese-American immigrant and laundromat owner being audited by the IRS . Evelyn discovers that there is a multiverse of parallel realities and then learns that these realities are being threatened by Jobu Tupaki, a powerful being who seeks to destroy all realities by hunting down each version of Evelyn. As Evelyn psychologically jumps into other realities, she discovers alternate versions of herself with different abilities and traits. In perhaps the most absurd reality, Evelyn finds that she and all other human beings have hotdogs for fingers. Additionally, in this reality, she finds herself in a relationship with the same IRS employee, Deidre, who is coldly auditing her in the main reality.

Jamie Lee Curtis in her Oscar-winning role as Deidre. [Photo courtesy of A24]

Understandably, when Evelyn first jumps into this reality, she is shocked and physically pushes Deidre aside. In a moment of realization later, Evelyn comes to understand that the only way to defeat Jobu, their minions, and the nihilism that drives them is to act with compassion and empathy. Across all the realities Evelyn is experiencing in that moment, this plays out in the hotdog finger universe when Evelyn comforts the confused and upset Deidre with this quote, which inspires her to masterfully play Debussy’s “Clair de lune” on the piano with her feet.

It’s a good reminder that we are not, in any possible sense of the word, unlovable. As Christians, this is a tenant of our faith. As Paul reminds us, there is indeed nothing in any form of reality that can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). Furthermore, there is always something to love about us, as we each have unique abilities and capacities that make it absolutely possible for us to not only be loved but also to love in radically empathic ways. Even if we end up having hotdogs for fingers.

Evelyn’s hot dog fingers. [Photo courtesy of A24]

Read the rest here.

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