“Everything Everywhere All At Once” is an instant masterpiece


Photo illustration courtesy of A24

A poster for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is a thrilling movie focus on the a middle-aged Chinese immigrant and her adventure through the multiverse. It is available to view in theaters.

Ian Lloyd, Staff Writer

In the last few years, we have seen films welcome the hypothetical multiverse theory into current blockbuster cinema. The idea of an infinite number of parallel universes that are slightly or drastically different from our own was more common in comic book shops before it became a household concept to many. With pre-established superhero movies now embracing this trend, it is now less of a risk to introduce this theory into more original independent films.

Enter the Daniels, a filmmaking duo, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert who have made a name for themselves through dark comedy short films on the internet as well as their debut feature, “Swiss Army Man,” starring Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe. These filmmakers have developed weird and out-there concepts with the ambitious use of special effects, so when it was announced they were making a film about the multiverse, I was more than excited.

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is about Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), a middle-aged Chinese immigrant who is struggling to take control of her life. While dealing with an audit that could destroy her laundromat business, Evelyn is swept into a multi-universal adventure that centers around herself and all of her counterparts from alternate realities. To save the infinite multiverse, she has to borrow abilities from other versions of herself and learn to better appreciate the family she has in her own universe.

Everyone involved in this production seemed like they had an absolute blast. Yeoh pulls off some incredible stunts and action sequences that harken back to her breakout roles, like “Police Story 3: Super Cop” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” Another highlight performance comes from Jamie Lee Curtis, who stars in a minor role that is so removed from anything she has done before.

There was not a single bad performance throughout the two and a half hour runtime,  but my absolute favorite came from Ke Huy Wong in his first major role since playing Data in “The Goonies” as a child actor. He is phenomenal in this film, playing multiple different versions of his character within the same scenes. He is the heart of the film tying everything and everyone together. 

There is brilliant creative energy to this film that isn’t often realized in current films. It’s not afraid to be a little rough or unapologetic about what it is trying to be. It reminded me of masterpieces like “The Matrix” or “Shaun of the Dead” that pushed the format of cinema forward with an unmatched amount of passion for filmmaking. It’s a film that goes as far as possible to entertain the audience while still giving a very thoughtful and introspective story about the character’s life.

This movie is extremely silly and doesn’t try to take its own concept seriously. This idea of different dimensions and universes all colliding in the mind of a middle-aged woman is odd, and the Daniels revel in how far they can go with the premise. Most impressively, these filmmakers made sure to never have a moment or story beat seem too confusing or hard to follow. The buildup to every idea was crafted so the audience wouldn’t be too lost in the film’s imagination.

While this film does get wacky and depict some outlandish scenarios, it is not without heart. It is filled to the brim with emotion and personality. It might make this seem vulnerable or cringey to more cynical critics, but the level of sincere creativity affected me deeply. I was ugly sobbing in the theater during the last half of the film. It’s an incredibly touching and profound film that will work in different ways for anyone who sees it. 

Suffice to say, I loved everything about it. I loved the weird and convoluted science fiction shenanigans. I loved all the crazy ideas for all the alternate realities. I loved the entire cast and how willing they were to take this film’s imagination as far as it could go. What I loved most of all was that this multiversal story was all a narrative about a woman realizing the loved ones in her life are more special than any missed opportunity she might regret.

This movie shouldn’t work at all. It is one of the most ambitious and sincere works of fiction I’ve ever seen in a theater, yet it’s a perfect film that does everything it sets out to do with flying colors. “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is an unforgettable and innovative experience receiving a well-earned ten out of ten.

I highly recommend this film if you haven’t seen it or if this is your first time hearing about it. It’s difficult to come across films with this much creativity and originality anymore, so please do yourself a favor and watch this while it’s on the big screen.