Enter The Multiverse
With films like Spider-Man, The Flash, and even Star Trek, moviegoers are no stranger to the idea of the multiverse. From the legendary directing duo, Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert bring us a high octane, hilariously over the top, and powerful new take on alternate realities. Being their most ambitious project yet, Everything Everywhere All At Once is a movie that as soon as the credits roll, you’ll be wanting to watch it again and again.
The Daniels are known for their wild and oftentimes crude (in the most endearing way possible) narratives such as their feature directorial debut, Swiss Army Man. Well, Everything Everywhere is no exception and takes the absurdity to an 11, which is perfect when you’re dealing with an infinite multiverse full of infinite crazy possibilities. Audiences will catch glimpses of realities where humanity evolved into having huge hotdogs for fingers, or a world with talking raccoons, or even sentient rocks. What’s even crazier is that even through all the crazy, WTF moments in this movie, there’s several powerful messages dealing with family relationships, self-esteem and self-love, and the importance of being kind. This film will have you laughing, screaming from sheer shock, and crying throughout.
The Absurdity of It All
So if you thought Swiss Army Man was weird, wait until you see this one. Everything Everywhere All At Once is just a crazy, crazy ride. There are multiple scenes in the movie that had me truly in shock as to what I was watching. You could never truly guess what was about to happen next thanks to the endless possibilities of the multiverse. What starts off as just a regular dance routine will suddenly shift to a sensual dance where the two partners start eating each other’s fingers with ketchup and mustard spraying everywhere. Using a cookie, one can be taught martial arts and how to do push ups with just your pinkie finger. Or a character might explode like a piñata and have confetti fly everywhere. And this is just the tame stuff. There’s plenty of other shocking, crude and hilarious scenes that will surely have audiences riled up in the theater. Some of the weirdness might be a turn off for some viewers. I couldn’t help but notice that at my theater, as soon as the film was over, some of the older viewers got up immediately and seemed very put off by the film we had just finished. So I guess all I can really say about the weirdness of the movie is to have a very open mind about some of the stuff you’re going to see. There’s going to be some truly bizarre shots that will stick with you forever due to the sheer insanity of it. But hey, it makes the movie so shocking, funny and entertaining that you don’t want the movie to end.
The performances in this film are outstanding. Since it’s dealing with the multiverse, everyone in this film displays a wide range in their abilities as an actor as they portray multiple versions of their characters. From Michelle Yeoh and Jaime Lee Curtis to smaller roles like Harry Shum Jr. and Jenny Slate, everyone gives an A+ performance that will have you ranting for Best Actor nominations.
My personal favorite was Ke Huy Quan as Waymond Wang. One minute he’s the loving goofball of a husband to Michelle Yeoh’s Evelyn, the next he’s this cool and collected, multiverse traveler, martial arts master, and bad ass. He can go from an epic battle pose, to the most heartfelt monologue in the blink of an eye and does both beautifully. Quan’s character alone made me laugh and cry more than any other in this film, or any film for that matter.
Michelle Yeoh is an absolute delight as the protagonist, Evelyn. We as the audience get to travel across the multiverse with her. As she becomes more and more confident in her abilities, the more and more we begin to root for her. Yeoh gives a moving and personal performance as she traverses her stagnant marriage, her conflicted relationship with her father and with her daughter who she doesn’t quite understand. On top of all of this she also is starting to crack under the pressure of keeping her struggling laundromat afloat. All the anxiety and troubles are depicted in such a way that while you yourself may not be struggling with a business that’s barely breaking even, you’ll still find a way to relate to the turmoil Evelyn is facing.
Jaime Lee Curtis is, as always, a joy to watch as she switches from a strict, yet misunderstood IRS Agent, to a hulking beast, and then back again.
Heavy With Emotions
I don’t want to spoil too much, but as I had mentioned before there are some really great messages on display in this film. These are the moments in the film that will hit you like a bag of bricks and tug at the heartstrings. But I will say that probably the big overarching theme is the mending of relationships with kindness. Evelyn has fractured relationships with her elderly father, her loving husband, and her independent daughter. All of these rocky connections are strengthened through acts of kindness and understanding. And if there’s one thing that The Daniels are great at, it’s writing truly beautiful character moments with deeply personal messages. Every single one of these relationships that Evelyn is struggling to maintain is touched upon and the way The Daniels chose to write or represent each struggle is so special.
In particular, the relationship between Evelyn and her daughter, Joy, involves several heavy scenes of them fighting, but one scene stands out above the rest. Joy starts going off on her mother saying that in order to truly feel loved by her mother, she needs Evelyn to let her go and be on her own. This scene had me bawling as both actresses delivered some of the most intense and raw performances I had seen in awhile. The contradictory argument of needing to be let go in order to become closer again is such a strange and very specific feeling, but The Daniels somehow perfectly put that feeling into words. Besides some really cool action scenes and some stunning visuals, Everything, Everywhere really shines in the writing. The ability to create this insane epic about an ordinary woman having to traverse the multiverse in order to save countless worlds while still keeping the story emotionally grounded is nothing less than impressive.
The Daniels have outdone themselves with this one. In just about 2.5 hours, viewers get to go on a journey across the multiverse, witness the personal growth of a woman and her family, and enjoy some super cool fight scenes that you wouldn’t find in any other kind of movie. I really really enjoyed this movie to the point where this could very well be my all time favorite film. A second viewing will most likely solidify this idea. The craziest part is that I really have no gripes with this movie. The film might feel a bit confusing to follow but I’m sure with proper concentration and multiple viewings, it really won’t be a problem.
Catch Everything Everywhere All At Once in select theaters March 25th. The film will expand nationwide on April 8th.
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Ever since I was young, I had always been fascinated in film and the work that goes into them. I love animation, blockbuster hits, indie films and everything in between. Some day I’ll have the privilege of being apart of the filmmaking process.