EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE Review
Movies as an art form are diverse in their intentions. Sometimes they can be expertly crafted action movies that are just long chases through the desert; entertainment to a high calibre. Other times they are big robots or monsters crashing into each other; mindless, entertainment. Or they can whisk audiences away to another galaxy; make them reflect on past relationships or mistakes; be a stark reminder of human history. Or sometimes they can be about the constants of human life: family, love, death…and taxes.
Everything, Everywhere, All At Once stars Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn, a Chinese immigrant in America who runs a laundromat. As she goes to complete her tax returns, she gets caught in a battle between dimensions leaving her as the only one able to save all of reality but her family.
The best way to describe this movie is as a sci-fi, martial arts, existential dramedy that moves between the absurd, the heartbreaking, bittersweet and endearing seamlessly. It is truly one of the year’s…actually no, it is one of the best movies.
Michelle Yeoh is both hilarious, frustrating and badass in this role which shows off her talents, both comedically and as a stunt performer. The action scenes overall are exhilarating and jaw-dropping to behold, ranging from a stand-off with a bum-bag to a hallway fight that involves golf clubs, salsa dancing and Mexican wrestling. It is a cartoon brought to life and made all the more impressive by the real stunt performers committing to the stunts.
EEAAO sees the return of Ke Huy Quan, Short Round in Indiana Jones and Data in The Goonies, to Hollywood. What a return as well. Quan matches Yeoh for impressive fight scenes, but he is the heart of the movie and the comedic source. He is the naïve husband of Evelyn and also her guide in the multiverse chaos that ensues, making for some impressive dual performances from him.
The only hurdle the film has to overcome for some audiences is that absurdity of the premise and what it depicts. Multiple universes is an idea audiences are becoming more familiar film, but I can’t imagine the latest Marvel movie having its main character fight with hot dogs for fingers or turn into a rock with googly eyes. It is that ridiculousness that is what elevates this movie, especially in the movie’s commentary on life and its meaning.
The villain of the movie has not only strong resentment for everyone around them, but they have seen enough of the multiverse, of all of existence simultaneously that they are numb to it all. Nothing matters, choice no longer exists if another version of you makes that choice for you. Their existential dread and depression become a physical manifestation that threatens to suck everything around it into the dark void. It is a subtle comment on how mental health, unaddressed, goes on to drag everyone down into it.
Yet there is another way to view life, and that is through the smaller moments and joys of life in silly moments. Finding the TV remote down the couch, or putting googly eyes on laundry bags for your own personal amusement. What others may see as naivete, is just another person’s way of coping with the burden of life. It is a poignant and powerful message, especially for today.
Everything Everywhere All At Once is simply a masterpiece that balances multiple genres and tones with a deft touch, and delivers jaw-dropping and hilarious action sequences, powerful performances from Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan. All the while it touches upon the most human question; does anything matter? And it answers it by saying, no, what matters is the happiness you find for yourself and for others. And is that not the root purpose of all art?