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Everyone, Everywhere Should See “Everything, Everywhere All At Once” [Review]

There are few movies that leave me utterly speechless. I’m typically able to gather my thoughts rather quickly after a first viewing, at least within the first few hours after the credits roll. It has been almost 24 hours since I finished “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” and I’m still not entirely sure I can articulate how I feel about this movie. That’s not pejorative, either. I mean the film filled me with so much emotion it left me awestruck and speechless. There is simply nothing like it out there. It delivers a wholly unique movie going experience, one that you will most certainly remember and demand that it be discussed ad nauseum with everyone around you. And if you discover they haven’t seen it yet, you’ll demand that they do.

Everything, Everywhere All At Once” lives up to its name in full. It is quite literally everything, everywhere, and all at once. It throws a lot at you, disguising basic storytelling themes beneath a bonkers, out of this world multiverse experience that dazzles and excites and confuses emotes. It is an unmatched rollercoaster ride of emotion, ranging from laugh out loud humor to inventive fight choreography to powerhouse performances to heartfelt messages that all somehow happen at the same time all the time. It is unrelenting in its assault, but by the end you’re somehow laughing through tears while brimming with joy as the excitement of the action makes you explode from the inside out. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” demands every facet of every faculty of every emotion you’re capable of in any single moment.

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That’s a lot of hyperbole without telling you anything about the film itself. Like I said, the film left me at a lost for words which is one of the worst things that can happen to a writer trying to express how incredible something is and make a strong case as you why you should experience this yourself. Directed by DANIELS (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), who helmed the critically acclaimed but just as weird 2016’s “The Swiss Army Man,” the film tells the story of Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh), an immigrant Chinese mother who owns a failing coin laundromat with her husband. Nothing is going well for her; her husband wants a divorce, her daughter is rebellious and at odds with her mother’s worldviews, and her business is being audited in the worst possible way. As Evelyn’s life seems to be at rock bottom, she is suddenly thrust into the multiverse where she is able to experience and retain the skills and memories of thousands of alternate timelines of her life. She is told by her husband from another universe (a scene stealing Ke Huy Kwan) that she is the key to stopping an unstoppable evil that is causing chaos throughout the multiverse.

Michelle Yeoh in “Everything Everywhere All at Once” – Courtesy A24

If that’s all you know about the film, it’s for the best. “Everything, Everywhere All At Once” works best when all the surprises are still hidden. The film still works just as well on a rewatch, but that initial viewing really requires you to take it all in for the first time with no indication of what awaits you on this wild, wild journey. There are so many expert levels of filmmaking at work here, it’s hard to really highlight any one of them. The story is gripping, heartfelt, and captivating. The humor is downright ridiculous and over the top but lands almost every single time. The heart buried under the bizarre thumps hard and delivers a whopping punch in the films climax.

The editing is an absolutely marvel, something I don’t think enough people give credit for often when they watched films but deserves a place among the films the strengths. The fact that Paul Rogers was able to make any kind of sense out of the insanity of footage available to him is nothing short of a damn miracle and I hope he is able to carry this momentum all the way to awards season next year. The production design is gorgeous, the visual effects are mesmerizing (fun fact: 7…yes, 7 people created the visual effects for a multiverse film here). The story is purposeful despite being literally all over the place. And the performances are just brilliant.

Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis “Everything Everywhere All at Once” A24

Yeoh and Kwan are just wonderful together. Their charm and charisma paired with their timing and sprawling narratives that require multiple versions of themselves is unmatched. They are just so damn good and demand that you care about them together and every single version of themselves they play. It is a joy to see Kwan on the big screen again, and he hasn’t missed a beat since his child acting days. He is legitimately a scene stealer, and is clearly having a blast making this movie. Yeoh his also firing on all cylinders here, demonstrating once again why she is one of the most versatile and underrated actors of our time in western film.

And then there’s the supporting cast in Stephanie Hsu, Jenny Slate, and Jamie Lee Curtis. I need to just take a second and highlight Curtis, who clearly understood the assignment and embraces the bat shit crazy absurdity with complete abandon. You may think that you’ve seen everything Curtis has to offer, but nothing in her extensive filmography can prepare you for what she does in “Everything, Everywhere All at Once” and I need her to keep doing this kind of weird, off beat roles forever. Less “Halloween,” more quirky IRS Auditor of the month but also pro wrestler but also hot dog hands playing piano with her feet. Yes, ALL of that happens and it’s not even the weirdest or strangest thing that DOES happen in the film.

Everything Everywhere All At Once” goes there in every way. However bold or strange you think a film can get, The Daniels have asked Hollywood to “hold their beer.” Talking rocks, hot dog hands, fanny pack kung fu, and yes, lots and lots of googly eyes are just a quick snapshot of what awaits you. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and doesn’t even begin to cover the ridiculousness of ideas that The Daniels have not only conjured up, but actually got the green light to do. It adds to the originality and uniqueness of the film. Very rarely do we get to experience a film that has practically 0 restraint and have that be the best thing that could ever happen.

But this film succeeds because it isn’t shackled by anything, thus allowing to be everything it wants to be, everywhere it wants to be, and doing so all at once.

Ke Hu Kwan “Everything Everywhere All at Once” A24

But the true magic of the film is that underneath the multiverse madness and cosmic everything bagels (not a pun, I mean it LITERALLY) there is a heartfelt, purposeful, fully realized story that is being told. There is real emotion and purpose here, paired with deep philosophical conversations about humanity, human connection, family, and kindness. It almost feels like Daniels wanted to make a meaningful dramedy, but refused to make one in any kind of cookie cutter genre defining way. Instead, they subvert every genre in their thematic concoction and guise it all under the fantasy and sci fi elements that power the film through to its real meaning. I’m not even going to pretend like I wasn’t sobbing throughout the film’s entire climax.

And that’s something truly special and masterful about what has been created here. The multiverse is merely a vehicle to deliver the real package, which is a message of hope in the hopeless, kindness in the cacophony of mean, and the importance of family.

Somewhere Vin Diesel’s ears just perked up.

No film is perfect, but “Everything Everywhere All at Once” comes pretty damn close. Closer than almost any film I’ve seen this year, and I’ve seen a LOT of films this year. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” already had a lot of expectations to live up to, and truthfully “Everything Everywhere All at Once” only exacerbates the immense levy of hopes the MCU sequel needs to live up to. They’re different movies, meant for different people, but “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is high minded cinema that beats many other films to the punch in their own genres. It is as good as movies get, and I left the theater with a stark reminder as to why I love movies in the first place.

If you see any film this month, or this year, make it this one. I can’t stress this enough; THIS is the must watch film of the year and you’re missing out on something truly special if you let the opportunity to watch it pass you by.

You know what, I don’t care. I know I’ve said I never give a perfect score because no film is perfect, but I’m giving “Everything Everywhere All at Once” a perfect score. Yes, it’s THAT damn good.

See. This. Movie. Bring tissues.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Everything Everywhere All at Once” is now playing in theaters. You can watch the trailer below. And read our interview with the cast here!

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