Director: Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert
Writers: Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert
Starring: Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, Jenny Slate, Harry Shum Jr, James Hone, Jamie Lee Curtis
It seems like multiverses are definitely in right now, and Everything Everywhere All at Once may be the best version of it yet. Co-directors/writers Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (also known together as ‘Daniels’) have thrown absolutely everything at their latest film. It’s completely absurd in the best way possible, filled with pure imagination with a scattering of dark themes.
Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) and her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) own a laundromat and are currently being audited by the IRS. When they are at a meeting with Deirdre Beaubeirdra (Jamie Lee Curtis), the agent dealing with their audit, Evelyn discovers that there are multiple universes and there’s a way to access the consciousness of herself from another universe and tap into their strengths. It’s up to her to save the multiverse from certain doom.
That pretty much sums up the first twenty or so minutes of the film, and you don’t need to know anything more than that. It’s best to go into to this knowing as little as possible because you really don’t want anything spoiling. It’s a bizarre and mad film and it’s best for the stranger things to be left as a surprise. It’s heartfelt and surprisingly personal for a film about the multiverse. The script is eccentric and filled with hilarious moments you can’t quite believe are actually happening (there was someone who shouted, ‘this is disgusting’ and left about halfway through, and they’re lucky they didn’t wait a few more scenes if that was their limit).
Everyone is perfectly cast and does a great job. Michelle Yeoh is absolutely fantastic, as always, and gives a memorable performance as the many different Evelyns. Ke Huy Quan, who’s recently stepped back into acting after almost twenty years away, is completely charming as Waymond, a very optimistic and wacky character. Throughout the film you see many different versions of them both, and they work so well together all the way through with great chemistry showing with every version. Their daughter, Joy, is played by Stephanie Hsu and is also exceptional in the role.
This film is very funny, definitely the funniest film of the year so far, with so many quirky and offbeat jokes that just hit the mark every time. Likewise, the action and choreography are stunning. Every scene is exciting and entertaining and there’s not a slow moment in it’s over two hour run time. Even at the beginning when Evelyn is trying to keep on top of a hectic schedule the film is well shot, it makes you feel the same pressures that she’s feeling and it’s overwhelming. Then when the action starts it’s constantly stylish and feels completely different to anything that’s come before.
Coming out so close to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (at least in the UK), it really shows you how tame the MCU was with the multiverse. Here it is presented as an endless number of bizarre alternatives from sausage fingers to chefs controlled by racoons, and then the way to access the other paths on the multiverse is even stranger. Eating lip balm or used gum being just two of the ways that the characters tap into the powers of other versions of themselves. It’s completely out there but everything is as brilliant as it is silly. Even when the film starts to deal with some heavy themes like existentialism and depression it does it with a smile, or more accurately with googly eyes on a sentient rock.
Everything Everywhere All at Once is a magical film that blends great action, comedy, and a meaningful message together to create something truly special. There is nothing else quite like it and it’s not a stretch to say that this will be long regarded one of the best films of 2022. If you get the chance, go see it, you won’t regret it.
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