‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ Is A Magnificent Kaleidoscopic Experience Like Nothing Else – Review
When quite literally everything is thrown at you all at once, it can be a lot to take in. Everything Everywhere All At Once is just that. Following a Chinese American family through the horrifying ordeal of figuring out taxes, our heroine Evelyn Wang is struggling with her day-to-day life before she is thrown into the multiverse with a mission to save the universe. With a star-studded cast of talent and legends, Everything Everywhere All At Once includes Michelle Yeoh (Evelyn Wang), Ke Huy Quan (Waymond Wang), Stephanie Hsu (Joy Wang), Jamie Lee Curtis (Deirdre Beaubeirdra), James Hong (Gong Gong Wang), and Harry Shum Jr. (Chad). This incredible movie is directed by the ingenious Daniels: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.
Even from just one watch, it’s easy to tell how much love and careful design was put into every frame. The Daniels created something incredibly magical and mind-blowing, the actors delivered fully to every scene, and the entire cast really put together a brilliant work of art. There’s a lot to take in when watching this, and that’s intentionally by design. From googly eyes everywhere to a universe-sucking everything bagel to floppy hotdog fingers, this movie does feel like everything is everywhere all at once.
Yeoh delivers as Evelyn, there is no doubt about it. This is a unique role to see the legend shine in since she has never delved into physical comedy before. We have always seen Yeoh as a master of martial arts, but she showcases her acting prowess with Evelyn in all the various skills (or lack thereof) that come with this character. In his own right, Quan is a legendary talent himself, and he delivers as Evelyn’s husband Waymond Wang. He possesses a kind tenderness while also displaying his chops as a fantastic martial artist and then a smouldering past lover. In comparison, Hsu is greener than her counterparts, and she rises to the occasion. She fully embraces her role and gives it her all. Her presence is both phenomenal and heart-wrenching at the right moments. The main trio had captivating performances and electrifying synergy together.
The representation is front and center and I cannot emphasize how much it warmed my heart. The Daniels made a fantastic decision to have the cast seamlessly speak in multiple languages. One moment they’re speaking in English, the next in Mandarin, and then in Cantonese. To someone outside of this cultural circle, it may not make sense, but for someone like me, a child of a Chinese immigrant family, I couldn’t stop smiling. That’s exactly how my family and so many families I know communicate with each other. All of us, like the characters, inevitably fall into our comfort language when we’re thrust into a place that often views us as outsiders. Even the details in the Wang family home and the way they all interact with one another–it all felt so familiar to me.
Thematically, there’s also a lot going on. We get to see the exploration of existentialism and nihilism. The notion is not lost on so many people nowadays: what is the point of doing anything if none of it matters? But in the same vein, the movie adds on that, maybe nothing matters but the people around us make it all worth it. And then we get one of my favourite messages of the movie–the power and strength of kindness and compassion. It is ultimately a beautiful mother-daughter and a family story that explores generational trauma and how to end that cycle so that the next generation can be loved unconditionally.
Ultimately, nothing anyone can say can fully prepare you for the insanity and gravity of this movie. Nothing makes sense while it makes all the sense. You’ll go through a whole range of emotions and come out feeling as if you experienced all those different universes yourself. I was still emotional hours after I had watched this movie and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.
It’s an absolute feast in every regard and it is the kind of film that reignites a cinephile’s love for movies. In the best way possible, this movie had me rethinking all the potential a movie can hold. It is full of homages, nods, and easter eggs to so many iconic and classic movie moments. As psychedelic and nonsensical as this movie is, it is beautifully complex and heartfelt. It’s packed with so many poignant and powerful messages. Yet at its core, it’s a heart-wrenching and emotional mother-daughter story. I found it to be a kaleidoscope of a movie: no matter how many times you watch it or how you interpret it, you’ll get something uniquely amazing and beautiful every time.