Everything Everywhere All at Once is a mind blowing multiverse spectacle.
You only thought Swiss Army Man was bonkers. Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinerts latest film is on a whole other level of total and utter chaos for better or worse.
The stars of the movie, Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, James Hong and Jamie Lee Curtis’s pull of phenomenal performances that are hilarious, heartfelt and heartbreaking all at once! Their amazing work results in some best of the year candidates for sure!
Daniels direction and Larkin Seiples cinematography work is wildly ambitious and feel flawlessly innovative but the small VFX team should especially be forever praised for their work on this movie! It’s safe to say you will be seeing this teams work again and again in the future!
It starts with the idea of the multiverses or parallel universes and theoretical versions of yourself in an infinite number of them.
In what can be referred to as our default universe, Evelyn Wang (Yeoh) and her husband Waymond (Quan) own a laundromat that’s under the attack of the IRS and their appointed accountant Diedra “Beaubeirdra” (Curtis). Facing this financial burden, a potential divorce, the arrival of her overbearing father (Hong), the return of her young adult daughter Joy (Hau) who is past her mental capacity to deal with her family, and notions of an unfulfilled life that’s left behind plenty of different, possibly more satisfying life paths are just Evelyn problems in this one universe.
Then out of nowhere, Waymond from the Alpha universe, disguised as “default” Waymond introduces “default” Evelyn to parallel universes where different versions of herself are created from every decision this version makes. Along with their creation is the ability to verse jump and connect with them to access memories abilities and perspectives, something created by Alpha Evelyn. But most importantly he informs her she must stop further destruction caused by the Everything Bagel, a manufactured black hole bagel created by her daughters Alpha Joy who seeks to all at once destroy everything everywhere because nothing truly matters. It’s a thoroughly wacky premise but it works, even when it shouldn’t sometimes.
From then on, the movie is wildly full speed ahead for better or worse. Tightly choreographed action rules over a majority of the movie and in some originally innovative ways. It’s a primary source of the film’s chaos and it gets the adrenaline flowing through your veins. It attacks your senses with a flurry of cinematic genres, multiverse jumping martial arts action and wears you down so much that you have no choice but to let your guard down and just embrace it. And then it strikes you square in the chest with bursts of raw emotion–heartfelt moments that result in the shedding of tears or instances of absolute hilarity that produce uncontrollable laughter and it continues to do so the entire movie.
This is a cinematic experience that makes you feel every possible emotion, honestly against your own will and sometimes what truly feels overwhelmingly like all at once. Even things you may not have thought you could feel are ripped out of you. The way the more spectacular moments made me feel is similar to how I feel when I watch one of this movies many homages and my all time favorite piece of cinema, 2001: A Space Odyssey, especially how I felt the first time watching this late 60s science fiction masterpiece. Watching this movie can be a life changing experience for someone and for many people this will be.
While the concept can feel a bit overwhelming, over complicated and sometimes silly, it shouldn’t necessarily be the sole takeaway. The absurdity of parallel universes, ‘verse jumping and all of the clever homages to films of the past are undeniably fun and boldly innovative but these moments are never what firmly grabs hold of me emotionally.
Even through the thick veil of chaos that engrosses the movie, it always makes sure that it return to its complexly human core themes, and when the more heartfelt moments unfold around them I think Everything Everywhere All at Once is at its very best, like maybe even best of the decade worthy best but time will tell if this sentiment holds up.
It’s a movie that has the power to reach all theoretical versions of yourself that may or may not exist in parallel universes and it possesses the ability to profoundly pluck away at all of your theoretical selves vulnerable little heartstrings in ways that not many movies truly can.
Sure there’s no definitive proof that any parallel versions of yourself exist, it’s this very version, in this reality that feels Everything Everywhere All at Once with the fullest force.
It’s just beautiful. Please please please watch this movie in theaters if/when you can because it was incredibly fun to watch in a crowded theater!
With an impressive slate of new releases still to come in the remaining 8 months of this year, Everything Everywhere All at Once may still end up being one of my favorites of 2022.