Michelle Yeoh Explains Why Stories About Generational Trauma Matter So Much Today

As of late, more movies have been exploring the effect of generational trauma from one age group to the next in creative ways. Most recently Pixar’s Turning Red did so through a young girl inheriting her family’s curse in the family space whereas Nia DaCosta’s Candyman explored this through the continuation of the popular horror tale. Now Everything Everywhere All At Once explores the concept in an entertaining trip through the multiverse

When CinemaBlend’s Law Sharma interviewed the Everything Everywhere All At Once cast, he asked Michelle Yeoh why she believes touching on generational trauma is important to talk about through film. Here’s what she said:    

The Daniels, they grew up with very strong women around them and I think this is their story, this is their sort of therapy as well, [they are] getting it out there and working through it because at the end of the day, this generational trauma just needs to sit down and have a real conversation without judging each other. On both sides, not just on one side.

Making art like film can serve as a unique way to process the emotions that come with generational trauma and Michelle Yeoh touched on how the movie was important to the movie’s filmmakers, Daniels. She also shared her own thoughts on the topic, saying that she believes people from multiple generations need to find a way to communicate despite there often being some roadblocks in understanding one another. Yeoh continued: 

I think sometimes parents, because they have lived the experiences, are trying to say ‘Don’t make the mistakes that I did, don’t go down that path,’ but when you are just starting off fresh it’s like ‘Hey, cool. I know everything. I’ve got it down and don’t try to tell me what to do.’ And I think that is always the biggest communication, the ‘don’t force me to be who you are because I am me.’ This is a conversation to be ha

Everything Everywhere All At Once follows Evelyn, a laundromat owner and immigrant. The core conflict of the film has to do with Evelyn and her daughter Joy (Stephenie Hsu) having a lack of communication between them and hurting one another without putting it out in the open. Michelle Yeoh also said these words: 

Your generation is a generation that lives with overwhelming information that is constant and nonstop and for us we look at you and go can you just hold on? I can’t even do one task and you guys are multitasking and pulling things out of everywhere. And it is hard to communicate when you’re not on the same page.

While Evelyn deals with a tax audit and perpetual issues with her husband, she gets introduced to the multiverse, where she begins to get access to versions of her lives if she had made different decisions throughout her life. The movie becomes an adrenaline rush of a science-fiction action flick that also has a deeper meaning that touches on generational trauma, along with telling a story fueled with Asian representation

Generational trauma is particularly prevalent in systematically exploited populations, but can also appear in those who have endured continual abuse, racism and poverty, per Health. It can present itself through high anxiety, depression, panic attacks, insomnia and so forth. Everything Everywhere All At Once certainly touches on this topic whilst also presenting a really fun and original concept about verse-jumping. 

Everything Everywhere All At Once is playing in theaters now. Once you’ve seen it, check out our explanation of the ending and stay up to date on more upcoming 2022 movies here on CinemaBlend. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.