Everything Everywhere All at Once

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Everything Everywhere All at Once

An aging Chinese immigrant is swept up in an insane adventure, where she alone can save the world by exploring other universes connecting with the lives she could have led.

A Chinese immigrant woman goes on an adventure through the multiverse in . Evelyn Wang () is a Chinese owner of a struggling laundromat, who is undergoing a tax audit while her marriage to her husband Waymond () begins to crumble. In addition, Evelyn's disapproving father Gong Gong (James Wong) has just arrived from China and Evelyn has a strained relationship to her daughter Joy (), due to her lesbian relationship with her girlfriend Becky (Tallie Medel). While on her way to an appointment with IRS agent Deirdre Beaubeirdra (), Evelyn is shocked when Waymond suddenly changes personality and warns her that the multiverse is being threatened by all-powerful entity Jobu Tupaki and that Evelyn is the only one with the power to stop her.

Everything Everywhere All at Once is a science fiction action comedy from the writer/director duo of Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Swiss Army Man), better known by their collaborative name of Daniels. The film stars Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Crazy Rich Asians) as aging Chinese immigrant woman Evelyn Wang, who is struggling with both her laundromat business and keeping her family together. However, Evelyn is soon visited by an alternate version of her husband Waymond, played by former child actor Ke Huy Quan (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Goonies), who comes from an Alpha Universe, the people of which have discovered a way to travel to and take powers from alternate versions of themselves. However, one such individual named Jobu Tupaki has become so entuned with the multiverse that she is able switch universes at will, making her a threat that only Evelyn has the power to stop.

Starting off as music video directors, the duo of Daniels introduced film audiences to their unique brand of surreal comedy with their 2016 breakthrough film Swiss Army Man. For their sophomore feature film, Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert have created an adventure that combines this surreal comedy with a science fiction multiverse plot and martial arts action. The film utilizes a simple, yet effective method of utilizing a special headset to traverse to different alternate universes after performing abnormal acts. While some universes result in the acquisition of kung-fu or other skill, others have odd effects such as having hot dog hands or just being rocks at side of a cliff.

With the exception of the great stunt casting of Jamie Lee Curtis as very cantankerous IRS agent, Everything Everywhere All at Once is dominated an Asian cast that range from young up and coming actors such as Stephanie Hsu (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) to Chinese legends such as Michelle Yeoh and James Wong (Blade Runner, Big Trouble in Little China). Probably the most surprisingly effective casting in the film is Ke Huy Quan, who is best known for his child roles as Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Data in The Goonies. Despite not having acted for two decades, Quan ends up giving a very multi-layered performance as he plays various versions of Waymond from different universes.

Despite her true identity being revealed relatively early, I don't want to talk too much about Everything Everywhere All at Once‘s villain of Jobu Tupaki, whose plan among other things involves engulfing off of existence, which she considers to be meaningless, onto a giant bagel. However, I will say that the film turns out to be surprisingly heartwarming, particularly after Evelyn Wang gets more powerful within the multiverse and sets out to simultaneously solve the problems in each timeline.

While I admit to liking Swiss Army Man a little bit better, Everything Everywhere All at Once is far from a sophomore slump for Daniels, who are emerging as some of the most visionary filmmakers of the current era.

Trailer for Everything Everywhere All at Once

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.