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Everything Everywhere All At Once Review: This Movie Is Everything

Everywhere Everything All At Once is everything; heartbreaking, heartwarming, absolutely insane, completely logical, and despite it being early in the year, without a doubt it's going to be one of the best movies of 2022.

Directors: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert
Summary: An aging Chinese immigrant is swept up in an insane adventure, where she alone can save the world by exploring other universes connecting with the lives she could have led.

Everything Everywhere At Once: New Poster & Images Ahead of SXSW Debut
Everything Everywhere At Once Poster. Courtesy of A24

The idea of the multiverse has been in movies and science fiction for a long time, but with comic book movies becoming the big cultural moment, they have become more and more mainstream. It isn't a niche genre anymore when one of the biggest movies of 2021 was about multiple characters from different universes all smashing together because of Reasons, and audiences went, "yep, sounds good, give us more" while throwing money at the box office. Both Marvel and DC are looking to explore the multiverse in movies coming out in 2022 and 2023, respectively, so the fact that A24 beat them to the punch with the indie and probably better version of what either of those studios could do is a minor miracle and hilarious. Everything Everywhere All At Once is also one of those minor miracle movies that make us wonder how we got so lucky to experience this medium at all.

Everything Everywhere All At Once is a hard movie to describe concisely because a lot is going on. At its core, we follow Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) on the extremely daunting task of trying to complete her taxes. Her business is falling apart, and her marriage isn't really working. Her father, whom she hasn't gotten along with for years, is visiting, and things are tense between her and her daughter. These things are compounded when Evelyn is sent on a journey throughout the multiverse to try and save it from a thing that won't be spoiled here. However, the thing that sets this movie apart from other multiverse movies is that Evelyn isn't really traveling across the multiverse physically. She is mentally connecting with other versions of herself and is able to learn their skills, their emotions, and their memories. So while this version of Evelyn is nothing special, she connects with a version of Evelyn who is a glamorous actress who knows how to fight.  And now, she knows how to fight. The skills, however, are not always as practical as that, and some of them get used in fascinating ways.

Everything Everywhere All At Once Review: This Movie Is Everything
Michelle Yeoh. Photo Credit: Courtesy of A2

There are so many things that make Everything Everywhere All At Once different from other movies within this genre, but one of them is that the Evelyn that we are following is not the ideal version. We are following the worst version of Evelyn, the one with the least accomplishments and the one that has the least skills.  She is the one that is good at nothing, and that is the hero of our film. She has to grapple with the fact that small changes could have made her life better and how hard it is not to get caught up in those "what if?" questions and how they impact the life she is fighting for. We have all wondered what would have happened if we made different decisions at important moments in our lives. Evelyn gets answers to those questions, and the answer seems to be, "your life would have been better." Or would it have been? This is the journey all of us are on.

And what a journey it is. Rarely have we seen a movie that explores the real concept of what the multiverse actually looks like. We won't get into many details here because they are worth seeing for yourself, but while everyone is going to be talking about the hot dog fingers, the real genius scenes come from the rocks. You'll understand the context when you get there. It's one of those scenes where you wonder how no one has thought of that before, and you're so impressed that someone managed to execute it so well. The costume design and makeup are filled with homages to various moments in pop culture, but each of the universes in Everything Everywhere All At Once somehow feel lived in and real even when they look so unbelievable.

It helps that the cast is so game for everything that is on screen. Yeoh is already a legend, and she puts forth some of her best work in this movie. Somehow she makes a moment where she clearly knows how to fight but is also surprised that she knows how to fight, work so well. She is the center of this movie, and she holds so much of it together as we explore the concept of family relationships and generational trauma. So that makes it all the more impressive that Stephanie Hsu as Evelyn's daughter Joy and Ke Huy Quan as Evelyn's well-meaning husband Waymond manage to keep up with Yeoh and sometimes outshine her. Quan, in particular, is tasked with an extremely difficult role that only gets better as the movie goes along. As for Hsu, her role requires a level of maturity and depth that would crush someone twice her age with a lifetime's worth of acting experiences, but she carries that weight with grace. The dynamic between the three of them, and the moments that we get with Evelyn's father, the always awesome James Hong, are just great. At the center of Everything Everywhere All At Once is the relationship between a parent and their child and how history can repeat itself even when we are desperately trying to keep it from doing so. And it's always fun to see Jamie Lee Curtis in literally anything.

Everything Everywhere At Once: New Poster & Images Ahead of SXSW Debut
Michelle Yeoh. Photo credit: Allyson Riggs

Directors and writers Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively known as The Daniels, were made famous and infamous back in 2016 with Swiss Army Man, which is one of those movies that you either loved or hated. It's a tough movie to wrap one's head around, so that is understandable, but with Everything Everywhere All At Once, they have truly managed to strike the perfect balance of so freaking weird, wild, relatable, and heartwarming to gain real mainstream appeal. That can already be seen by the early box office numbers [and the small group of young people standing in a circle outside of my screening excitably talking about the movie like it was the latest summer blockbuster], which are already looking very good. This is the type of big idea and big movie that was made for two minds that click perfectly together like The Daniels. It's so apparent why they work together because Everywhere Everywhere All At Once could have easily collapsed under people who weren't sharing the burden evenly. Another minor miracle is that this whole thing works as well as it does, and it's the kind of cinematic miracle that makes you love the medium.

Everything Everywhere All At Once really is just everything, and there is no better way to put it. It's the kind of movie that we're going to be talking about for the rest of the year, the kind where critics [heyo] aren't going to shut up about it for the next nine months and with very good reason. There is something here for mainstream audiences while also being weird enough to pull in fans of the movies that A24 tends to distribute. Without a doubt, one of the best movies of the year and worth seeing on the biggest screen if possible.

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Kaitlyn BoothAbout Kaitlyn Booth

Kaitlyn is the Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. She loves movies, television, and comics. She's a member of the UFCA and the GALECA. Feminist. Writer. Nerd. Follow her on Twitter @katiesmovies and @safaiagem on Instagram.
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