Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively credited as Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once is a genre-bending, frenetic comedy-drama-sci-fi-live-action-cartoon chock-full of fanny packs, hot dog fingers, and talking rocks. Crammed with a barrage of probabilities and an astounding number of ideas, it’s the everything bagel of movies.
The film, which has grossed over $100 million worldwide, stars Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn Wang, a Chinese American immigrant who co-owns a laundromat with her sweet-natured husband, Waymond Wang, played by Ke Huy Quan. Frazzled and burned-out, Evelyn struggles to file back taxes while juggling the tense relationship she has with her daughter, Joy, played by Stephanie Hsu, and caring for her strict, old-fashioned father, played by James Hong. This straightforward story takes a turn for the weird when Evelyn discovers that she is living in one of infinite parallel universes and that only she can prevent Jobu Tupaki, a powerful being, from destroying the multiverse. This villain has been hunting Evelyn throughout alternate timelines, murdering her counterparts as they get close to prevailing, and Evelyn is left to vanquish her nemesis while coming to terms with her own normality. As she starts to lose sight of what matters, it’s cheerful Waymond who shows her the way, bringing to light the film’s emphasis on goodness.
Pushing every conceivable cinematic boundary, the inventive plot is expertly assembled, preventing the varying timelines from becoming overwhelming or unfocused. The highly skilled cast brings to life dreary tax accountants, vengeful monsters, dejected laundromat owners, disgruntled daughters, and determined chefs competing with a raccoon, all within the ambitious world(s) of this packed but fast-paced film. The editing of Everything Everywhere All at Once is integral to the film’s brilliance, match cuts eliciting whiplash as audiences are thrown into a whirlwind of universes.
With a plot full of twists, quirks, and endless possibilities, Everything Everywhere All at Once reminds viewers that life is complex and people are even more so. Kindness and positivity go a long way, and even though our existence is made up of minuscule fleeting moments, we have only this one to hold on to. We need to make the most of it.
One More Thing: A director achieves the perfect space cowboy thriller
When Jordan Peele’s third movie was announced, everyone expected it would be another exceptional horror film. What no one anticipated from the director of Get Out and Us was a thriller about a UFO and horses. But boy, did Peele do that UFO and horses well! The eerie, largely empty Southern California desert provides the perfect setting for moonlit scenes of majestic equines galloping through the night, kicking up just enough dust as a malevolent, shape-shifting apparition hides in a cloud high above. A fascinating commentary on spectacle and its role in our society, bolstered by the phenomenal performances of Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, and Brandon Perea, Nope breathes new (and possibly extraterrestrial) life into the most unknown parts of western lore.•