Film Review: Everything Everywhere All at Once
Take Stephen Chow's Kung Fu Hustle. Blend in some Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Toss in a dash of Wong Kar-wai. Fold in some screwball comedy and a smidgen of nihilism. Toss it all together with society's recent fascination with the idea of a multiverse, and you have Everything Everywhere All at Once - a movie that definitely lives up to it's portentous title.
Directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Schienert, known collectively as Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once is the tale of Evelyn, a struggling, dissatisfied wife and mother and owner of a laundromat. Her life didn't go as expected and now she is just going through the motions. Her husband wants a divorce (though she doesn't know that yet), her father is a burden, her daughter and her do not get along, and now she's brought home her girlfriend as an added shock to the system. All the while, she is being audited by the IRS and may end up losing her business - on top of losing her husband and daughter. It's a life unfulfilled. that is until an alternate version of her husband shows up from another universe and tells Evelyn she is the multiverse only hope of survival. This is where it gets, to say the least, complicated.
I won't get into the rest of the plot. You should experience the rest unfettered with critical calculations. Plus, I don't think I am able to render any sort of coherent elucidation in just a few words. Maybe batshitcrazy would work, but even that is a bit lacking in descriptive chutzpah. But I digress. Let us talk about the real highlight of the movie. Michelle Yeoh. The actress's ability to show off her martial arts prowess, and her razor sharp comic timing, all the while giving a deeply felt, resonating tour de force performance, is nothing short of brilliant.
Yeoh steals the show - and it is her show to steal. This movie is more than just a martial arts epic or an action adventure romp. It's more than a mere madcap multiversal romp. A Mad Mad Mad Mad World through alternate realities. The film takes a look at how each generation becomes more and more nihilistic as society grows darker and darker. A thing that may be inevitable but also a thing that does not need to happen if people were to just open their hearts. This sounds more than a bit cliche as I write it, but trust me, it works in the movie. And it is Yeoh who makes it work. Yes, there are wonderful special effects and fun and fabulous fight scenes - and a literal buttload (a comment stemming from one of the more interesting fight scenes) of wild and wacky stuff. But it is Yeoh who brings the whole movie into perspective.
Stephanie Tsu, who had a tiny part in the MCU's Shang Chi last year, plays Joy, Evelyn's wayward daughter. Ke Huy Quan, of Goonies and Temple of Doom fame, is Evelyn's husband. James Hong, an actor who has been in anything and everything that has the need for a Chinese actor, plays her father. These are all important cogs in the story, especially Tsu's Joy, but they are all just there to make Michelle Yeoh look better. An almost unrecognizable Jamie Lee Curtis as an IRS agent/multiversal ne'er do well is also fantastic in the movie. But still, it is Evelyn who must figure out how to change the course of her own life in order to save all the lives, everything everywhere all at once. And in doing that Yeoh gives one of the funniest and most heartfelt performances of her illustrious career. Not to mention the movie itself is, well, I'm still sticking with batshitcrazy. Huzzah.
That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.