It’s not often we see films that successfully throw in the whole kitchen sink. And sure, while this concept of the “multiverse” is starting to appear outside comic book films, it might overstay its welcome if the formula starts to show any signs of becoming stale. Everything Everywhere All at Once takes both concepts and meshes them together in what is arguably the biggest film A24 has ever made (at least budget wise). The result is quite silly, but also enduring, beautiful, somewhat original, and satisfying by the time the credits roll. What directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert have crafted here makes for one of the best films in the first half of the year.
Everything Everywhere All at Once tells the story of a Chinese immigrant, Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), who owns a laundromat while dealing with issues within her own family. Once tax issues arise, she must go to the IRS along with her family to sort things out. Once there, she’s quickly thrown into a connected multiverse where different iterations of herself, her family, and people with whom she interacts on a daily basis exist. Soon, she finds out that only she can save the world by exploring other versions of herself.
Once audiences find out through a familiar setup akin to The Matrix, things begin to take off. Going through multiple genres including action, sci-fi, drama, and comedy, the film moves at a brisk pace, exploring these different universes within the multiverse as its main character tries to get to the root of it all. Action sequences are epic and well-choreographed, sci-fi elements are unique, and the family drama touches heart strings; the comedy sprinkled throughout the exploration of the world is some of the funniest stuff you’ll find in a film this year. If there are any minor complaints, it’s that the film loses a little steam in the back half. Otherwise, audiences are in for a wild ride right up to the rolling of the credits, with the previously mentioned throwing in of the kitchen sink approach to introducing different elements working so well together.
The cast of Everything Everywhere All at Once is outstanding from top to bottom. Yeoh gives a career-best performance in the leading role, as she’s asked to do it all her. When it’s all said and done for the year, Yeoh might have given one of the year’s best performances. As for the rest of the Wang family, they are almost, if not equally, as good. Stephanie Hsu, as Joy Wang, brings out the film’s weirder, yet cooler, moments; James Hong as Evelyn’s father provides more than a handful of funny moments; and Ke Huy Quan as Evelyn’s husband, Waymond Wang, almost steals the show. Ke Huy’s character introduces us to the multiverse , and without spoiling anything, that introduction might be one of the year’s most memorable moments. Jamie Lee Curtis, in a supporting role as an IRS auditor, is also great in her brief screen time.
When Everything Everywhere All at Once reaches its conclusion, it makes for a rewarding ending that will satisfy its audiences for the journey they went through. While it may be just a little bit too long, the viewing experience will keep your attention throughout because of how zany and genuine the film presents itself. Films like this don’t come around often, as they are tricky to balance without coming off as incoherent. But kudos to the Daniels directors for keeping this one cohesive and making one of the most memorable films of the early part of the year.