Film Review by Carolyn Hamaker: “Everything Before Us”

*spoilers ahead* 

“Everything Before Us” (2015) is WongFuProductions’ first feature-length film. WongFuProductions started as a YouTube channel created by a group of Asian Americans who create short films. “Everything Before Us” is a film about a world where the government, specifically the Department of Emotional Intelligence, issues ratings to people based on the quality of their relationships. The ratings act as credit scores and help companies determine whether they want to hire someone. The scores are also used to evaluate other people and determine if each individual person wants to be with someone who has a low or high relationship quality score. The movie falls into the drama, comedy, and romance genre.

I am not a film major, but the technical components seem well executed. The camera angles, lighting, and music all helped enhance the story in the film rather than distract from it. In terms of narrative structure, the film went in chronological order with a few flashbacks in the middle of the film. The flashbacks were easy to follow as it was one couple remembering how they first met. The editing of the film was well done. There were two couples that were followed in the film. The movie would show part of one couple’s story and then switch to a scene with the other couple’s story.  At some points, the two couples’ stories would come together and they’d all be in the same scene.

What I enjoyed about the film was that it was not cliché. The film focused on a young couple who just graduated high school and another older couple who had broken up long ago, but had been brought back together due to circumstances with the Department of Emotional Intelligence. The storyline is creative and brings in elements of old and new. It is the typical story of “government can’t control who people love,” but it is told in a non-cliché way with well-developed characters. The teen couple struggles with long distance as one of them goes to college and in the end they don’t get together. This was a twist I did not expect and it illustrates the theme that sometimes love won’t always work out, but it’s important to take responsibility and recognize your faults in the relationship.

The main reason I love this film is because of the way it represents Asian Americans. This film tells an American drama story with actors that could have been any ethnicity. The filmmakers decided to make most of the main actors in the film Asian. The focus of this film was Asians as Americans without mentioning racism or immigration like many other Asian American films. This film portrays Asians as being Americans and this helps reduce the stereotype that Asian Americans are foreigners. I believe the film did a great job capturing the hardships of being in love and making relationships work. I highly recommend this movie and I think it’s great to support Asian American filmmakers, films, and actors! The movie is available on Netflix, Amazon, Youtube, and iTunes.

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