ReviewThe concept of the ‘multiverse’ is hip. Recently, Marvel heroes Spider-Man and Doctor Strange also got lost in multiple parallel worlds. Those movies can go in the trash. The sensational Everything Everywhere All At Oncein cinemas from Thursday, gives the same kick that Being John Malkovich and the first The Matrix caused in 1999. And then those comparisons don’t even cover half the load.
A film with the budget of an arthouse production and the ambition of a major blockbuster, one that also serves both audiences. The idea of the director and writer duo Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (collectively known as ‘Daniels’, previously responsible for Swiss Army Man) could really only fail. That they did succeed should give many fellow filmmakers caught in the current, safe film climate, something to think about.
The less you know in advance, the better, so only the rough contours of the plot. Neurotic Chinese immigrant Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh, who instantly catches your eye) is gasped in the neck by the IRS (represented by a hilarious Jamie Lee Curtis) while running her stick-on laundry. Just before an appointment to thoroughly examine the administration there, she is suddenly sternly addressed by her usually wimpy husband Waymond.
He claims to be a version of her husband from an alternate universe, someone who has met thousands of Evelyns and knows for sure that she has the power to counter an imminent threat to all those worlds. Nice detail: she has to fulfill this key role, precisely because she leads such a colorless existence. We won’t give away exactly how that works out here, but it forces Evelyn to come into contact with her many different versions. One is a successful movie star (the actress Michelle Yeoh herself, from our own universe?), another is a martial arts master or chef in a cosmos where the corny events of Pixar’s animated hit Ratatouille may be completely normal fare.
There’s a lot more going on in Everything Everywhere All At Once that effortlessly combines slapstick humor and flashy stunt work with philosophical musings. It’s great that it doesn’t turn into chaos. Even better is that it all basically functions as an intimate family drama that actually convinces and moves.
At two hours and twenty minutes, this inventive whirlwind may be spinning a bit much. It is indeed everything and everywhere at once. But so much creativity, guts and emotion above all deserves a thunderous applause. The first candidate for the best film of 2022 has arrived.
Directed by: Dan Kwam and Daniel Scheinert. Starring: Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis
Free unlimited access to Showbytes? Which can!
Log in or create an account and never miss a thing from the stars.