Review: Everything Everywhere All At Once
With Everything Everywhere All At Once, the directing duo Daniels has created an epic whirlwind of a film, full of dizzying logic, eye-popping visuals, mind-bending surprises, and a whole lot of heart. At first, all you will be able to focus on is the wholly unique world they have created here with its kung-fu action set pieces, madcap humor, and frantic references to many films. What you will keep coming back to is the emotional core of the film that is every bit as sweet as it is silly, as poignant as it is preposterous.
With all of that said, the film is best experienced knowing as little as possible. Michelle Yeoh is Evelyn Wong, a Chinese immigrant whose life is all too much when the film opens. She is failing to balance being a wife, mother, daughter, and business owner. She has regrets about where she is in life, running a laundromat while dealing with her positive-outlook-on-life husband (Ke Huy Quan), her queer daughter (Stephanie Hsu), and her judgemental father (James Hong). On top of all that, she is being audited and has to get her taxes into the supremely dour agent played by Jamie Lee Curtis.
While meeting about her taxes, she is thrust into a surreal adventure as she learns that the multiverse exists and that she may be the chosen one to save the entire universe from a dark conqueror. All of this ties back to her outlook on life and her relationships with her family. The movie throws a lot at the audience as it builds its world and explains the rules to both Evelyn and us.
Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert have created one of the most unique American films. This is a sci-fi spectacle wrapped around a deeply moving family drama that celebrates filmmaking and its star in equal measure. Michelle Yeoh is given one of her most complex roles here, which honors her martial arts skills while giving her the chance to play a character who isn't in control. It works wonders. The whole movie serves her alongside the rest of the cast. The Daniels are generous writers and no part is minor or a throwaway. Ke Huy Quan, who you know as Short Round from Temple of Doom, is wonderful in a role that honors his abilities as a martial artist. Stephanie Hsu captivates in a duel role here. Jamie Lee Curtis has a blast getting to play against type.
Everything Everywhere All At Once comments on our current times as well. We are in an age of being overwhelmed by choices, information and opinions. The world may be ending but there is still so much to take care of, such as your family and your taxes. The Daniels empathetic take on all of this makes for a moving story that packs as much emotional punch as literal punches and creative ideas.
Bizzare, beautiful, foul, childish and profound, this is simply one of the best movies in a long time. There are dumb jokes punctuated by deeply felt emotions. There are action scenes so remarkable and odd that they will likely inspire generations of filmmakers. You will likely not see a film like this in 2022.