REVIEW – “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Filmmaking duo the Daniels made a huge splash with the hit-film Swiss Army Man back in 2016, as it was both embraced by independent cinema-loving audiences and critics alike. It was also evidently clear from the moment that film started that the Daniels would be talents to look out for; not only in terms of their clear talent behind the camera and giving vibrant life and energy to their characters and story – but also delivering truly original, mind-bending stories that don’t lose track of their hearts and themes at their core. Everything Everywhere All at Once is not only not an exception to their unique style of filmmaking, but it is one of the most vibrant, original, and genuinely groundbreaking pieces of art that I’ve seen in quite sometime.

The film follows an aging Chinese immigrant named Evelyn Wong (Michelle Yeoh) who now runs a laundromat in America with her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) that is under much pressure after Evelyn receives notice she is being audited. This is on top of her complicated relationship with her father (James Hong) who she has a deeply complicated and estranged relationship with, and her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) who she struggles to connect with in a way that is satisfying to either of them. All of this changes when she has a meeting with I.R.S. agent Deirdre (Jamie Lee Curtis, who is clearly having a blast here) and is thrown in the middle of a multiversal war where she’s informed she is the key to saving the entire construct of the multiverse.

The Daniels’ direction for this film is some of the most innovative and enthralling piece of filmmaking that I’ve seen in my entire life. Every single frame of this movie feels like it has an immense amount of love, care, and passion behind it. Even down to the tiniest detail hidden in the back of a frame, it not only feels like the Daniels’ have made a deeply detailed film, but also the most original story, characters, and concept put to film in what feels like forever. The way this film explores the multiverse in wacky ways that could genuinely give Marvel a run for their money, but always ties it back into being deeply personal for Evelyn as a character is truly magical. Cinematic bliss.

From top to bottom, every single performance here is fantastic. Ke Huy Quan is both heartbreaking and heartwarming as her husband, who is so immediately lovable due to his downright decency as a character and the earnesty that Quan brings to the role. Stephanie Hsu as Evelyn’s daughter Joy is also one of the best elements of the film, as she almost feels like the heart at its core with both a wonderful performance and beautiful chemistry with Michelle Yeoh – who just might give her career-best performance here. Yes, while this film is a multiversal action-comedy that stuffs genres into a giant blender and churns out a delicious, cosmic milkshake, it is first and foremost a character study on Evelyn. And Michelle Yeoh absolutely crushes it; on top of absolutely kicking ass in every action set-piece the film has to offer, she delivers one of the most emotional performances I’ve seen in quite sometime for a completely three-dimensional character that you feel like you know as a real person by the time the credits roll.

Usually at the end of a review I can find at least one thing to nitpick, but I’m coming up short when it comes to Everything Everywhere All at Once. This is simply one of the best films I’ve seen in years and a reminder of how beautiful and cathartic the art of filmmaking can be. It’s truly one of a kind.


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