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The Wood Word

The news site of Marywood University

The Wood Word

The news site of Marywood University

The Wood Word

OPINION: What “Everything Everywhere” Can Teach Us About Being Kind

Photo credit/ Gabby Ziegler

In the climax of the Oscar-winning film “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” the character Waymond Wang expresses two simultaneous yet equally meaningful sentiments about the power of kindness and doing good. One comes from an other-world version of him who is a successful businessman, telling his disillusioned wife, Evelyn, that kindness does not make him weaker.

“When I choose to see the good side of things,” he tells her, “I’m not being naive. It is strategic and necessary. It’s how I’ve learned how to survive…this is how I fight.”

At the same time, the main version of Wang from the movie’s central universe is in tears, begging the main antagonist’s forces to stand down as he shields Evelyn from them. He has no idea what is going on, feeling like everything is his fault, and yet he urges them to calm down. He finishes by delivering a line that impacted Evelyn for the rest of the movie as much as it did me.

“The only thing I know is that we have to be kind,” he shouts. “Please, be kind. Especially when we don’t know what’s going on.”

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The actor who played Wang, Ke Huy Quan, won an Oscar for his performance, and his powerful words began to spread across the internet shortly after the movie’s release. And yet, it seems like ever since that time, the world has only descended further and further into chaos and intolerance. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began two months before the movie’s release, and now we have the war in the Middle East. In between there have been endless amounts of hate speech, shootings, and numerous other acts of discord and violence.

This moment distinctly feels like the scene in “Everything” when Wang’s declarations come in, where everything is in complete chaos. No one seems to know what to do about it other than being violent and intolerant in return as a desperate attempt to cope. At the risk of sounding pretentious, I am here to mirror Wang in this situation. Instead of perpetuating the cycle, we should be kind and try to help others by doing good and making their days just a little bit better.

This past year Marywood had its first ever “Kindness Week,” where various opportunities to be kind and supportive were offered every day on campus. I was initially skeptical about how many would participate in writing positive things on sticky notes or making cards for the residents of Marywood Heights, but the engagement was overwhelming. The sticky notes covered two large windows in the Learning Commons and were spread around afterwards. During another activity, which involved kindness challenges like holding open doors, people would run off to do those challenges immediately instead of holding onto them. Kindness is alive in this community; all it takes is a call to shake off people’s nervousness about doing the right thing and encouraging them to just do it.

It is so easy to get caught up in the despair of the world, especially with social media and “doom-scrolling,” but there is an equally easy way to fight back. Find the good in people and things while practicing kindness. Buy a snack for a friend, offer to sit and chat if you see someone sitting alone or even just ask how someone is. Heck, get some googly eyes like Waymond Wang does and stick them to random things. It might just make someone smile.

I promise you, not only will you make them feel better, you’ll feel better yourself. Before you know it, you’ll be fighting hard times and chaos with kindness and compassion, as Evelyn learns to do by the movie’s end.

Contact the Writer: [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Brianna Kohut
Brianna Kohut, Staff Writer
Brianna is a junior studying Film and TV Production in the Multimedia Communication Department. She is also a member of the RPG club and a DJ for 91.7 VMFM. Outside of school, Brianna enjoys writing, music, and playing video games.
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