June 18, 2024

Writer, Alyssa Borton

Originality is hard to find in recent media.  Spin-offs, reboots, and retellings are rolling out in swarming numbers and it makes sense—marketing something already well-known and loved is easy. Retelling stories requires less effort.  To be unique, one must create something that will impact the audience even after the screen goes dark.  A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) has absolutely won the jackpot when it comes to originality in film, as dictated by viewers and critics alike.

Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, a duo known as “the Daniels”,  Everything Everywhere All at Once stars (legendary) actress Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn Quan, a Chinese-American laundromat owner in a failing marriage.  During an IRS tax audit, Evelyn is introduced to an infinite network of parallel universes and tasked with saving the entire multiverse from a mysterious, all-powerful being. Actors Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Jenny Slate play supporting roles in this film. From a misunderstood daughter to an IRS agent with hot dogs for fingers, each character is multifaceted, flawed, and real. 

Everything Everywhere All at Once is, as its title suggests, not an easy movie to describe. It is a tale exploring Asian American culture, identity, and generational trauma. It’s an examination of the intricacies of mother-daughter relationships. It’s an absurd comedy that exceeds the limits of family friendly. It’s a martial arts action flick with strikingly high-stakes fight scenes and dramatic slow motion combats.  It is a nonsensical mishmash of ideas that should not work, but—incredulously—do. Everything Everywhere All at Once is a surrealist story about the infinite amount of possibilities that exist within any given moment, and the importance of finding beauty in the present. 

With stunning visuals, a soundtrack (composed by Son Lux) featuring artists such as Mitski and Randy Newman, and details so intentional blockbuster films pale in comparison, Everything Everywhere All at Once’s rise was inevitable. Both audiences and critics have near universal praise for this film, something very rarely seen in cinema; the Daniels manage to pack a meaningful punch without sacrificing entertainment. Everything Everywhere All at Once was named a top 10 film of 2022 by the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute. It received numerous awards, including two Golden Globes from six nominations and five Critics’ Choice Awards from 14 nominations.  From her role in Everything Everywhere All at Once, Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian best actress nominee in Oscars history. 

From what I’ve gathered, Everything Everywhere All at Once is the type of movie you either LOVE or HATE. Personally, I fall in the former category; even though some scenes seem silly on the surface, it is clear that every aspect of this movie is intentional.  In my opinion, the most bizarre parts of Everything Everywhere All at Once make the most impact. Life is a messy series of events, and the only thing we can do is find acceptance in the madness. 

⭐️Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

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Alyssa Borton

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