Everything Everywhere All at Once Review

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Anika Svancarek | @sw.an.ika

Everything Everywhere All at Once review

It’s not very often that we get to experience something that is truly new and unique, whether it be in film or in the world in general. When it comes to the world itself, we are often the barrier between seeking out these new experiences for ourselves. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is in direct conversation with this sense of complacency and stagnation in our day to day lives, and it battles these feelings with an aggressive onslaught of hilarious, heartbreaking, heartwarming, jaw-dropping and, most importantly, original images. 

There are so few moments in film history where an off the wall film like “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is released, that it’s hard to imagine how it even got made. Despite this, it’s gotten a wide release and has received nearly unanimous praise in an era where many film fans have become jaded with the current studio blockbuster turnstile, which loves pumping out movies that simply copy the ones before it.

The superhero genre has especially become the target for much criticism when it comes to this assembly line style of filmmaking. But, in a surprising turn of events, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” uses a device that has become part of the common vocabulary because of these films, the multiverse. 

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While the multiverse is a concept that has long existed outside of comic book films, films like “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and the upcoming “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” have and will continue to play a heavy role in its rise in popularity. But “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is quick to turn lemons into lemonade with something that you’re probably already tired of hearing explained to you.

While the film does get into some heady sci-fi territory, it never feels overwhelming or exhausting. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” uses the multiverse simply as a jumping off point to have some truly insane plot devices while staying light on exposition with its devil may care attitude. Not since a film like “The Matrix” have concepts so complicated felt so easy to understand and relate to. 

The genius of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” comes in the message of the movie, rather than its sci-fi logistics. The film follows our main character, Evelyn Wang, played by actress Michelle Yeoh, dealing with connecting with her husband and daughter who have become increasingly despondent with her. Her life has become so hectic and busy that when we meet her, she has very little time to spend with them. Between taking care of her father, managing multiple businesses, and worst of all, filing her taxes she never has a single moment to slow down.

It’s in this chaos that our journey begins, and things only get more insane as you go down the multiversal rabbit hole of wasted potential, kung-fu, talking racoons, and neglect. The heart of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is the connections you make with your loved ones and how easy it can be to take those things for granted. Evelyn sees firsthand all the different permutations that can come out of the consequences of her actions, some good and most bad. 

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is a film I think a lot of us need right now. One that forces you to really look at yourself and your effect on those around you. It puts a magnifying glass on all the selfish acts that Evelyn does everyday and by extension, puts one on the audience.

Very rarely have I seen a film that can really make me think about my own relationships, and want to be a better person, while not also feeling corny, manipulative, forced, or self-pitying. These are all the markings of a truly wonderful film-going experience that I think everyone should have for themselves.

It’s also a film that could speak uniquely to every person who views it, based on their own experiences, although I would struggle to imagine anyone having a negative experience with it. I found myself bouncing back and forth between bursting out in laughter and then tears, often within a few minutes of each other, or even at the same time. Although it is a film about family, it is worth mentioning it is still an R-rated film mostly aimed at adult audiences. 

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“Everything Everywhere All at Once” flexes the power that films can have in a truly masterful way. The almost unprecedented talent for it was wielded effectively by the two directors, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, in their second feature together, with their previous work being 2016’s “Swiss Army Man.” The film shows complete control and expertise with an endless stream of filmmaking styles and techniques. The diversity ranges from Pixar spoofs to arthouse cinema in the way of visual references to Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai. 

On a technical front, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” shows chaotic precision. The camerawork is energetic but always accentuates the scene. The editing is next level, with certain sequences that I genuinely can’t imagine how they pulled off and undoubtedly caused some carpal tunnel. Its score, from American experimental band Son Lux, boasts a wide range, from orchestral work, electronic, traditional Chinese instruments, and its excellent melancholy central track “This Is a Life” featuring musicians Mitski and David Byrne. 

The acting is similarly excellent, where it’s even hard to single out any performances as literally everyone involved brings their A game. But, out of a long list of great actors, Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, and Jamie Lee Curtis are the standouts. Yeoh and Quan’s dynamic is the heart of the film, and never failed to warm or break my heart. Curtis also brings a hilarious performance which is one that will surprise even her most diehard fans. 

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is a collection of things that all work perfectly in tandem, representing the order among chaos. It’s always an exhilarating experience when you can feel that something is an “instant classic”, which is exactly how I felt even just halfway through the film. I implore everyone to catch this on the big screen if you can, as you’ll likely not experience anything else like it this year, or maybe even this decade. 

Staff reporter Zaden Dennis can be reached at [email protected] and you can find his other reviews at letterboxd.com/Zadenator. To stay up to date with all your Southern Illinois news follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

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