Under Review: “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Turner Edwards, Staff Writer

Disclaimer: I recommend watching “Everything Everywhere All at Once” as blindly as possible, including foregoing this review until after watching the movie.

In a cinema landscape where new releases become less and less original and franchises reign supreme, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is determined to be a unique, unforgettable adventure that lives up to its existential title in full.

Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, the film features Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn Wang, a mother struggling with her relationship with her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) and husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan).  Evelyn discovers that the multiverse is in danger, and she begins to channel alternate-universe iterations of herself to save it from an antagonistic force.   

Yeoh delivers a masterful performance as Evelyn, displaying a wide and complete emotional range as well as excellent comedic timing. Major credit must be given to Quan, who is given the daunting task of playing different characters in the same body—he excels in varying his delivery in both subtle and overt methods to sell the audience on his performance. Hsu gives a career-defining performance, expertly directing Joy’s frustration and sadness toward her mother. 

The premise of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is undeniably confusing, but the film excels at delivering exposition and setup in methods that are efficient and effective. The movie never slows down to explain things in a way that kills the momentum of the narrative. The pacing throughout “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is fast but expertly controlled, a tribute to its skilled editing.

Kwan and Scheinert began conceptualizing “Everything Everywhere All at Once” in 2010, and the years of planning are apparent throughout the course of the film. The screen is almost always laden with intricacies that invite a second viewing—small details characterizing the environments and individuals within them are visible from the outset of the movie. The film’s exceptional shots and framing make “Everything Everywhere All at Once” a model of a visually engaging movie.

The film boasts many exciting, kinetic action scenes that are choreographed fluidly and easily followed, and the shot is cut only when necessary. The fights are fun and varied—Evelyn channels her alternate universe selves and obtains their skills in fresh and dynamic ways. Be it a sign-spinner, hibachi chef or a martial artist, Evelyn employs multiple unique skill sets.

The film also deftly balances comedic and deeply emotional tones. There are moments where the audience burst out laughing and moments where the viewers were brought to tears. There is a strong emotional core at the center of the narrative, however wacky and maximalist it may seem.

This film is one that is worth watching multiple times and is a movie that refuses to be forgotten or idly consumed. It dials every single possible aspect of a movie to 11, but is still able to remain grounded in an emotional narrative driven by excellent performances. This movie deserves to be discussed alongside the all-time greats. 

Final score: 10/10