Geek Lab Review
These days we exist in a world where organizations provide us with a rating or score for almost every aspect of our lives
Everything Before Us is part science fiction but mostly a romantic comedy. The movie is set in a world where the fictitious Department of Emotional Integrity (DEI) scores individuals on their aptitude in establishing, maintaining and succeeding at relationships, especially in the department of love.
Like your credit score, individuals are given a score, 70 being average. This score moves up and down based on the relationships; one is in and based on the length of the relationship and who was at fault when it ended. This score is not only an indicator of compatibility with another person, but also used as a metric for finding employment, getting bank loans, and finding the right circle of friends.
The movie follows two couples: Seth (Brandon SooHoo) and Haley (Victoria Park); and Ben (Aaron Yoo) and Sara (Brittany Ishibashi). Seth and Haley are two college student. First high school sweethearts and now separated by distance as Haley is at school in San Francisco, and Seth is living in Los Angeles. Ben and Sara are former lovers. Ben has a hard time finding a new job because of his low score. He asks Sara, who is about to open her first bakery, to accompany him to the DEI to address some unanswered issue about their break up.
Everything Before Us is the first feature film from internet notables Wong Fu Productions. As friends attending UC San Diego, Philip Wang, Wesley Chan and Ted Fu started producing amateur videos and found a way to leverage YouTube and social media to become the internet giants that they are today.
Over the years, fans have not enjoyed Wong Fu’s thoughtful storytelling about human relationships but also admired the high-quality production values they bring to their videos today. It is clear that Wong Fu pulled out all the stops with Everything Before Us. The movie not only feels like a feature film but also maintains the flavor and vision of Wong Fu.
Everything Before Us is a thoughtful story about two relationships. The stories are based in reality, and the lead actors are all up-to-the task of portraying their characters on screen. The movie not only feels real in the face of the sci-fi DEI device. It’s clear that writer, Chris Dihn, spent a lot of time putting meaningful dialog on the page.
I may seem to praise Everything Before Us overly. Wong Fu Productions have produced an ambitious and entertaining movie, and I cannot wait for their next production. But Everything Before Us is not a perfect movie.
The first problem is the pacing of the movie. It’s just too long. The movie has two parallel story lines and time spent on the Department of Emotional Integrity device. These three elements must then force themselves into one movie.
Everything Before Us is a romance movie. The inherent nature of this genre means there are not a lot of surprises. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Unfortunately, the movie falls victim to the audience getting too far ahead of the movie. When the audience is ahead of the movie, boredom sets in because they are waiting for the movie to catch up. The script needed serious editing, and some scenes could combine.
The other problem is with the lead characters. From a story standpoint, the characters make sense. Ben and Sara act the way they should, and Seth and Haley are good college students. The problem is an exciting character on screen is more than gender, age, and physical features. They have personality, dreams, and weaknesses. People have quirks and personalities that on-screen help you relate to their plight and differentiate themselves from the other characters in the movie.
It is not that the characters were bland, but they are generic. Ben is an artist, why drives his passion for painting. Sara is a baker. Why does she like baking over fine dining? Seth is a college student. What’s his goal in life? Haley wants to travel abroad? Why?
Finally, Wong Fu is bringing the voice of the American Asian on the screen. They should be commended for the quality of their work and their ambition to produce. Please let this criticism serve as a way to improve your future work.