“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is one of the weirdest and wildest films of the year, and it demands your attention.
The multiverse is a concept not entirely new to film. The possibility that every choice you make creates a world where you didn’t make said choice has been explored in a few movies this past decade, most recently in superhero movies like “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” But, where these films have primarily used the multiverse as a way to bank on nostalgia with fun cameos, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (EEAAO) takes a different route.
Elevated by excellent performances, kinetic action scenes and clever use of the multiverse, EEAAO is a game-changer.
Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), a woman running a laundromat with her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), struggles to keep her life together as her business struggles, as well as her relationships with Waymond and her daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu). Things take a strange turn when Evelyn meets an alternate version of her husband who tells her that the multiverse is in danger and that she is the only one with the ability to save it, a task that Evelyn soon accepts as she begins her wild journey across multiple universes.
Michelle Yeoh is in fighting form (quite literally at times) as she displays an enormous amount of willpower throughout the film, going from a woman who reluctantly accepts her role in this battle for the multiverse, to someone who will do whatever it takes to save it knowing those close to her are at risk.
Much of this is translated through the film’s fantastic fight scenes, as Evelyn’s perseverance leads to plenty of hilarious moments, especially between other characters.
While the multiverse is a central part of the narrative, it is ultimately used as a metaphor for the ups and downs that come with life. In many moments during the film, some brilliant editing is used to portray parts of Evelyn’s life if she had made different decisions, whether it would lead her to become a kung fu master or a highly skilled chef. These moments all connect to a theme of regret, a theme that manages to cleverly tie back around by the end to create an exciting and emotional climax that left me surprisingly satisfied.
Not everything is flawless, however. The beginning of the film can feel slightly convoluted due to characters trying to explain the rules of the multiverse to the audience, resulting in an almost overwhelming amount of exposition before the plot is allowed to move forward again.
The pacing can also feel a little off, as there were times it felt like the end of the movie was in sight, only to realize that there was much more to get through before the real climax. This uneven pacing created a sense that I was watching multiple movies stuffed into one, an experience I still enjoyed, but ultimately an odd one.
Despite some exposition and pacing issues, EEAAO is already among one of my favorite films of the year. It may not be the multiverse movie you were expecting, but it’s the one you’ll be thinking about long after the credits roll.