Everything Everywhere All At Once
(5/5) never before have raccoons and butt plugs been used in this context
I’ve been waiting to see a movie I was struck by for a hot minute - the last one I can think of is maybe Parasite. I love niche, bizarre films with a hint of action and this unhinged creation from Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert doesn’t fail to deliver.
If Ke Huy Quan steps back into the spotlight for a project, you can only assume that it’s going to be god-tier. Michelle Yeoh, supreme martial artist and icon, captivates for two and a half hours which, by the way, actually felt like it should be that runtime. Stephanie Hsu, Jamie Lee Curtis, James Hong, Harry Shum Jr., Jenny Slate - excellent performances all around.
This script is unstoppable - the first ten minutes were so fast and clean cut I almost couldn’t contain myself in the theater. Even expository moments were threaded through and expertly carried by this fantastic ensemble. The story is visionary, constantly drawing audible reactions from the crowd watching it with me. Cinematographer Larkin Seiple worked his cinematograbussy off - and the editing? There’s an insane amount of detail and footage on-screen. This is such a big, messy idea, and they pulled it off with prowess. I haven’t had an experience quite like this ever…it has immediately entered my top ten of all time.
In order for Evelyn (Yeoh) to “verse-jump” and access skills that an Evelyn in a different reality has (pinky kung-fu, teppanyaki chef), she has to do something weird and improbable in order to create a statistical equation that will open her mind and launch her there (rocket science, basically) - for example, licking a stranger’s nose or squirting hand sanitizer into her own eyes. Evelyn is an immigrant mother who seems to be bad at everything and who feels like she’s wasted her life in the midst of a failing laundromat and her husband suggesting divorce. It’s initially suggested that she is the perfect Evelyn to destroy the evil Jobu Tupaki, who wants to destroy every multiverse. But the story is more than that - it’s about how nothing matters. But so does everything.
Evelyn has stunted her relationship with her husband Waymond (Quan) and her daughter Joy (Hsu) and is fearful of her relationship with her father (Hong). And as she gains access to every Evelyn in the multiverse all at once, she falls into a spiral of uncaring. She’s existing as too much all at once; all the different genres of Evelyn (hot dog fingers, Wong Kar Wai, martial artist, etc.) experience the same dejection she feels when she sees them from her POV.
It ends up being her neglected, warmhearted husband that pulls her from this spiral - as well as her love for her daughter. Even though nothing really matters, she’s here - and she exists everywhere. Even if she’s small, her little world is big. Nothing matters so she makes her own rules…things are looking up.