Unfulfilled dreams, homophobia, and family drama all the while zipping through multiple universes all at once.
Multiverse movies seem to be the norm these days, making the out-of-the-ordinary idea a common concept. Lately, films such as Spider-Man: No Way Home and the recent Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness have illustrated the boundless possibilities of the multiverse, opening the doors of its complexity to viewers. Yet, directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively known as The Daniels, delivers a different kind of multiverse film that gives viewers a fresh and eccentric perspective, stretching their imagination as the film is prolific, hilarious, and a sincere sci-fi adventure with its universal struggles, making it worth its runtime.
The film’s title is literally the epitome of the story; everything and everywhere seems to be happening all at once. It’s beautifully chaotic and endearing, and it’s well-plotted with graceful progress while being genuinely whacky. The central figure is Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), a Chinese-American laundromat owner with a fluctuating relationship with her husband, Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), and a lesbian daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu), that’s she is too ashamed or scared to declare to her conservative father, Gong Gong (James Hong), who’s visiting from China, as she’s keen to make an impression on him after countless disappointments. To top off her struggles, the family is bound for a meeting with an IRS inspector Deirdre Beaubeirdra (Jamie Lee Curtis) for an audit regarding their questionable state of business. Things start to really spiral out of hand when an alternate version of her husband suddenly appears from another reality, explaining to Evelyn that the fate of a million universes lies in her hands. Evelyn picks up a skill that makes her connect to multiple versions of herself when necessary, as she portrays an adept chef, an actress, a pinky finger-fighter, a sign-spinner, and a rock.
Michelle Yeoh’s performance is undoubtedly outstanding, showcasing her martial art skills and conveyance of raw human emotions—some might even say it’s Yeoh’s most captivating character to date. Ke Huy Quan deserves an honorable mention for his return to the stage after 10 years of working behind the scenes as an assistant director and stunt coordinator. Quan last starred in the classic 1985 film The Goonies shortly after his major screen debut in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Together with the superb performances by every member of the cast, the visual effects that are jaw-dropping and cunningly thought out that it evokes Evelyn’s transversal through the cosmos, the Kung Fu fight scenes, choreographed by the same team responsible for Shang chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings, feels authentic, creative, and comedic all at once.
Everything Everywhere All at Once tackles unfulfilled dreams, homophobia, and family drama while being tremendous, extraordinary, and impeccably executed by The Daniels, making the film a brilliant slice of cinema. Nihilism, a belief that life is meaningless, is represented by Joy with a gigantic literal “everything” bagel while its antithesis was the googly eyes, which are seen since the beginning of the film, representing optimism. The bagel, being white within black, is contrasted with the googly eyes being black within white, a simple visual representation discreetly illustrated throughout the movie. The film conveys that it’s love and kindness that can defeat hopelessness, and it’s the joy amidst the most mundane things such as laundry and taxes are to be grateful for.
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Did you know
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