If existentialism is something that bothers you, Everything Everywhere All At Once is not the right choice but you should watch it anyway because why would anyone want to miss this masterclass in cinema? Everything Everywhere All At Once, directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (aka the Daniels) is every convoluted theory you’ve had about the multiverse mixed with conspiracy theories, all mixed up in a smorgasbord of chaos.
The Daniels love the absurd and they serve the absurd in oodles in Everything Everywhere…, so much so that you might leave the theatre with your head spinning.
Michelle Yeoh plays matriarch Evelyn Wang who, on the particular day we met her (and perhaps regularly), is stretched way too thin. She operates a laundromat with her husband Raymond (Ke Huy Quan) who feels unseen in the marriage leading to him almost filing for divorce. If that’s not enough, Wang’s business is being audited by Deirdre (Jamie Lee Curtis) from the IRS.
Wait, there’s more. Her relationship with her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) is strained at best as they both grapple with how rapidly they’re growing apart and also Wang’s father Gong Gong (James Hong) seems to be unsatisfied with everything she does.
Amidst all this chaos, Evelyn is quite literally yanked into the multiverse and now must essentially battle a big ‘evil’.
With blurry scenes and rapid cuts (courtesy Larkin Seiple on the camera and editor Paul Rogers), the film also rapidly tugs its audience across every ‘universe’.
Honestly, at points it’s way too much.
The film deals with very intense themes while bringing in absolutely absurd concepts, including an universe where humans can be controlled by raccoons (cue the lizard people's conspiracies) and Yeoh’s live-action Ratatouille moment. It’s like every episode of Black Mirror finds itself sandwiched into Rick and Morty and is then dialed to a 100.
Daniels are perhaps the only filmmakers who could weave these many threads into an almost cohesive plot where every detail is accounted for without the need for constant explanation.
And who else to portray a character so delightfully complex and yet relatable but the inimitable Michelle Yeoh?
This is a film you’ll want to watch twice or maybe thrice for two primary reasons: 1. It’s hands-down a great film and 2. To actually understand what’s going on.
Everything Everywhere All At Once is at its very essence an exploration of humanity; it’s sensitivity on par with the wonderful Inside Out. The film’s only (miniscule) flaw is also its strength – there is just “everything” going on “all at once”.