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'Everything Everywhere All at Once' is, in fact, everything

New film "Everything Everywhere All at Once" is chock full of talent, creativity and excellent performances. – Photo by Everything Everywhere / Twitter

"Everything Everywhere All at Once" is a hard movie to review because it’s hard to put into words what makes it so great without ruining it. So let me just get straight to the point: See this movie. Don’t wait — head to the theaters and see this movie. There’s nothing like it out there.

The film follows Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn Wang failing in almost every aspect of her life. Her relationships with her father, husband and daughter are all barely holding on and troubled to say the least. Her family’s business is a laundromat is on the brink of bankruptcy, and all their hope rests on them managing to see themselves through an audit from the local branch of the IRS.

Once there, the movie kicks in as a different version of her husband, Waymond Wang (played by Ke Huy Quan), shows up in his body to tell Evelyn about the multiverse — that there are billions of different versions of her, and she can move between them to gain skills and experience.

Despite this revelation, there’s also a growing threat by the name of Jobu Tupaki that is killing their way through the multiverse. Only Evelyn can stop it.

The movie does what all good science fiction does, which is to give you the core concepts of an idea or technology and then show you the consequences of it. Watching people jump from one consciousness to another leads to endless entertainment, as well as some spectacularly imaginative fight scenes. It’s best to let the movie take you on this journey, knowing that you’re in capable hands.

The visuals on display are stunning. They swing from bright and colorful to moody and dark without skipping a beat. Directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert take full advantage of the multiverse concept to keep coming up with strange new places and ideas.

The story is compelling, but even without it, I would stay in my seat just to see what they were going to put up on the screen next. There's miraculous confidence in this movie, though they have only one other directing credit, the sweet and gentle “Swiss Army Man.”

Despite having a phenomenal wide concept, Kwan and Scheinert are smart enough to keep the focus on the story. It’s a deeply personal tale of a family in crisis and what it takes to heal those kinds of wounds. The multiverse hijinks are merely the backdrop for them to express the feelings they don’t know how to otherwise.

Yeoh walks a fine line with Evelyn as only a pro like her can, somehow being frustrating in the first third of the film without being unlikeable. From there, she dances between comedic, dramatic and sometimes straight-out silly beats with ease. The only thing she makes easier are the fight scenes, which is obvious considering her long history of martial arts films and years of dance experience. 

Quan also has a great deal to do, switching between Yeoh’s gentle and soft-spoken husband and his more confident multiverse counterparts. He gets perhaps one of the best martial arts scenes that involves a fanny pack in all of movie history — maybe the only one.

Finally, there’s Stephanie Hsu, who is heartbreaking as Joy Wang, Yeoh and Quan’s daughter. Every character feels so full, rich and real in this movie, but Hsu does so while finding equal footing against more experienced talents.

She manages to find a perfect balance between Joy’s frustration that her mother won’t accept her girlfriend, sadness at the state of their relationship besides that. Underneath it all, but consistently on screen, is a deep love for her parents. When we encounter Joy's multiverse counterparts, she somehow finds a way to get even better.  

I said at the beginning of this review that this was a hard movie to talk about without ruining and that it would be best to go into it cold. But in the end, I think it’s because I don’t have the words for it.

There’s a reason that this is a movie and not a novel or radio play. It’s because you need to see this, in a theater and among people. You need to feel that energy and connection that is so central to the movie’s plot. If you will, you won’t be disappointed.


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