I went into Everything Everywhere All at Once after a tough day at work on a Thursday evening with no information about the film. The film was not something that I could relax during but it was not filled with tension like Uncut Gems. I was happy to have gone in cold, like Parasite. I recommend seeing this film in theaters without learning anything ahead of time. It is comedic, heart-felt, science fiction, and more. Stop reading here and come back after you have seen the film
The cast is anchored by the wonderful Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn Wang, a mother, wife, daughter, laundromat owner, and subject of an IRS audit. Jamie Lee Curtis is the auditor. Stephanie Hsu plays the queer daughter Joy. Ke Huy Quan, of Short Round in Indiana Jones fame, is Evelyn’s eternally optimistic husband. James Hong appears on screen and not just as a voice actor and plays Gong Gong, Evelyn’s aging father. It is a wonderful cast of some true stars and some up and comers.
The film has elements that are increasingly common in films. It is focused on the multi-verse, time travel is so old school, simultaneous timelines are the ‘it’ thing these days. It is an immigrant and first-generation American story. It dives heavily into generational trauma. It looks at mother/daughter relationships and expectations as well as a father/daughter relationship. Stepping back and listing out all these elements makes it seems copycat or of the moment, but I think this could turn into a cult classic, partially due to A24’s limited distribution of the film.
The editing in this film won an award at South by Southwest. The action choreography is wonderful and far better than in many other films. They do an amazing job to make a depressed Evelyn into a martial arts master with one quick head nod. Fitting a multi-verse inside a character’s head requires a lot of expert direction and The Daniel’s deliver. All of the actors have to play multiple roles and they flip between them seamlessly with the camera focused on them for the entire transition. They are not playing off a set or scene change but instead must transform in front of our eyes in real-time.
I enjoyed the film throughout but got nervous as we were closing in on the end. It had been a wonderful flight, but how could the pilots land the plane? Fortunately, you have nothing to fear. After softening you up with a journey through the multi-verse we get the most heartfelt portion of the film. An honest conversation with believable dialog occurs and you can leave the theater with a smile on your face.