There is no denying that multiverses are a hot topic in 2022, thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Doctor Strange. However, when you picture the vast creativity that the concept of numerous spawning dimensions crossing a singular reality can inspire, few films are as successful or are as joyous as the emotionally poignant A24 movie – Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Directed and written by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once is a film that can only really be described as bizarrely perfect. It is an action movie with clever and charming writing, stunning visuals, tongue and cheek jokes, and impressive performances from a talented cast that includes the likes of Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis. Following a Chinese immigrant Evelyn (Yeoh), and her family, the movie disguises itself as a normal drama in its opening sequences, before thrusting audiences into a spectacular sci-fi adventure.
Evelyn is a woman who is dissatisfied; she has a strained relationship with her sweet husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), struggles to communicate with her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu), and her laundromat is on the verge of bankruptcy.
In the first 20 minutes of the film, we see Evelyn disillusioned and unhappy with her life. However, soon we witness the character’s mental state shift to pure confusion once her husband starts acting like a different person and declares that she is in danger.
Here the film immediately shifts tone as we witness a scenario that feels reminiscent of classic science fiction movies, such as Sarah Connor in The Terminator or Neo in The Matrix. In short, Evelyn is revealed to be somewhat of a ‘chosen one’. She must learn to connect with multiple universes, harnessing the skills that ‘other Evelyns’ have gained in their worlds to help save her family and the fabric of reality itself.
Everything Everywhere All at Once knows how to craft an entertaining journey through its exhilarating cinematography, choreographed fight sequences, and shocking creativity. As we see unthought-of universes through Evelyn’s adventures, such as one where everyone has hotdog fingers, you can see that Kwan and Scheinert had fun with and subsequently put a lot of effort into the multiverse concept of the movie.
Each new addition, each new Evelyn that we meet, perfectly fits into the comedic and surreal atmosphere of the film. The flick isn’t afraid to lean into pop culture, self-referential callbacks, or the camp of its otherworldly and random scenarios, making it enduring and just plain fun at times. You can never predict what will happen next in this movie, and as time goes on, you also can’t help but appreciate how the fun narrative becomes more existential and nihilistic in its message.
In this together: Best family movies
At the heart of this bizarre and gloriously messy adventure is a simple story about familial relationships and dealing with the boredom of reality vs the dreams and expectations you once had when you were younger. All of Evelyn’s troubles stem from her own feelings of inadequacy, from failed dreams, pushing expectations onto others, and obsessing over what life would have been like if she had made different choices.
Over the course of this film, we see how her family has experienced similar thoughts, as well as how fractured their dynamic has become over the years. As the leading star, Yeoh perfectly embodies all of these complex emotions that Evelyn experiences, as do Ke Huy Quan as her husband and Stephanie Hsu as Joy. Each actor feels authentic in their portrayal of these very human and recognisable feelings, and it is hard not to invest in all their futures as well as them as a collective unit.
Getting past all the beautiful and absurd visuals of the multiverse, it is this simplistic family plotline which arguably enables Everything Everywhere All at Once to work so well. Amid wacky realities and hilarious fighting scenes, we have relationships and emotional journeys that we can all relate to. Be it generational differences, marital woes, depression, or midlife crises. Remarkably, there is always a reference point to fall back on when watching Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Tension! Best drama movies
If the emotional arcs and messages of Evelyn and her family were more complex in this movie, it is easy to picture audiences becoming overwhelmed, or for confusion to take hold. Instead, with its clear and clever writing, we can all immerse ourselves in the absolute madness and fun of all the universes, as well as feel touched by Everything Everywhere All at Once’s recognisable subtext.
In this way, the movie also marks itself as a film that caters to all cinephiles, be they the kinds who love a giant spectacle, those who prefer understated human-driven narratives, or those who like a bit of both.
Everything Everywhere All at Once will remind you of why you love cinema. It is fresh, creative, and will leave you laughing and shedding some tears. While its third act did feel a bit long, you honestly don’t care about a few pacing issues after experiencing something as unique and exhilarating as this film. Truly one of, if not the best movie of 2022 so far, Everything Everywhere All at Once is an unmissable feature for every movie enthusiast.
Everything Everywhere All at Once releases in Uk theatres on May 13, 2022.
Everything Everywhere All at Once review
Everything Everywhere All at Once will remind you of why you love cinema