Must Watch Film Soars Above Expectations


(Photo courtesy of The Telegraph.)

(Right) Stephanie Hsu as Joy, Evelyn’s daughter, just turned her opponent into a flurry of confetti. Photo courtesy of The Telegraph. (Photo courtesy of The Telegraph.)

I sat in the middle seat of an airplane with someone’s elbow jammed into my shoulder on my left and someone else’s shoulder hogging the elbow rest on my right. In a cramped international flight back home to Orlando, within 10 minutes of hitting play, I burst out laughing at the mini screen in front of me. The world around me shifted. All that mattered was the pulsing screen, a neon-painted window which I could peer into and be drenched in total enjoyment. 

Films like Everything Everywhere All At Once come once in a lifetime. It’s a film that surpasses description. It was something monumental and genre-defying, completely absurd, nonsensical, yet still somehow incredibly profound and undoubtedly hilarious. It’s the kind of movie where viewers have to take a second to breathe at the end, to sit back in one’s seat and try to remember how it all started and piece together the craziest moments to share with friends. Audiences will know they just witnessed a masterpiece. Afterwards the brain is buzzing and swirling, and the entire world is telling viewers to just soak it in. 

Remarkably, Everything Everywhere manages to weave an impossible heap of ideas into a tapestry instead of a tangled mess of threads. Imagine this: a middle aged Asian American woman struggles to connect with her Americanized lesbian daughter. At the same time, her husband is filing for a divorce, and she’s being audited by an unyielding IRS agent. Now imagine another movie: the theory of the multiverse where every single decision—such as hitting the snooze or not—spawns an alternate version. The poor protagonist is dragged around the different universes seeing, admiring, and regretting the different lives she could have led. Finally, imagine one last movie: an average nobody is thrust into the spotlight and charged with saving the world from an all powerful being. And that powerful being just so happens to be the person she loves the most and wants her to help destroy the world together. 

All of these movies sound intriguing and interesting, but now imagine these three as one. One incredible movie. Yes, this movie. The directors, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (known as the “Daniels”), wrote on Twitter that the film, “Was a dream about reconciling all of the contradictions, making sense of the largest questions, and imbuing meaning onto the dumbest, most profane parts of humanity.” 

The most memorable scene in this film—although arguably there are way more than just one—must crown the string of sequences when Michelle Yeoh’s role of Evelyn Wang and Stephanie Hsu’s role of Evelyn’s daughter, Joy, come clashing head to head in the multiuniverses. Colors, different mediums, an electrifying score, everything flashes in rapid succession from universe to universe, lighting up the screen in a top-tier creative whiplash. Viewers are immersed in a universe with humans having hotdogs for fingers to a universe where life doesn’t exist on Earth (Evelyn and Joy talk to each other as rocks), and then to a universe where Evelyn is a movie star, and on, and on, and on. All the while, the soundtrack by American band Son Lux perfectly heightens every up and every down. 

The casting for this film was glorious. There’s a reason why Yeoh seems to embody her character so well: her every nuisance, her little mannerisms, her natural comedic timing. It’s almost as if the character were written for her. (Psst, it was). Quan, playing the role of Waymond, Evelyn’s husband, seamlessly transitions from one universe’s Waymond to another with a grace possible only from decades of experience. The fight scenes in the film are absolute action-eye candy, executed authentically due to Yeoh and Quan’s stunt backgrounds and the direction of the choreographer from Shang-Chi. Hsu, through Joy, captures every facet of a Gen Z with her mood swings, quick quips, and eye rolls, yet also demonstrating her longing desire to be unconditionally loved. The range of emotions each character portrays made me go from hacking laughter and weeping tears to confusion and understanding, and around again. 

Somehow in just over two hours, I watched a martial arts comedy, a heartwrenching history between mother and daughter, a bittersweet drama, a light budding romance, and an explosion of the craziest, creative mind. It is all mixed with a directing style which when asked, “Is this too much?” would answer, “Add more.” It isn’t often to come by a film that is so original. It isn’t a remake, a sequel, a saga, an adaptation. It’s a bold, novel film. Don’t stop and ponder. Don’t create an alternate universe where you don’t watch this film. This is the movie you’ve been waiting for.

(Above) Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn and Jamie Lee Curtis as Deirdre star in a universe where humans have hotdogs for fingers. Photo courtesy of A24.(Photo courtesy of A24.)
(Above) in a different universe, Yeoh reprises Evelyn as a laundromat owner, harnessing martial arts skills from an alternate version of herself. Photos courtesy of A24. (Photo courtesy of A24.)
(Above) In one universe, Yeoh and Michiko Nishiwaki, as Evelyn’s instructor, train in Kung Fu. Photo courtesy of IMDb. (Photo courtesy of IMDb)
(Above) Everything Everywhere All At Once is one of 2022’s biggest hits. Photo courtesy of IMDb. (Photo courtesy of IMDb.)
(Above) In another universe, Evelyn takes the form of a rock because conditions on Earth made life impossible to form. Photo courtesy of IMDb. (Photo courtesy of IMDb.)
(Above) In yet another universe, Evelyn is a popular movie actress, basically Yeoh starring as herself. Photo courtesy of IMDb.
(Photo courtesy of IMDb. )