Review: ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ is An Emotional Heavyweight

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Everything Everywhere All At Once was written and directed by a duo who call themselves The Daniels (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert). The film stars some cinema legends working at the absolute top of their game – Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis, James Hong, and the less experienced but equally phenomenal Stephanie Hsu.

Regardless of all of that, none of that remains to be the best part of this masterpiece. I only use that word because the film has left me at what feels like a loss of words, but I think the truth is I’m just overwhelmed by the complete mastery of storytelling that I’ve witnessed. I think that Everything Everywhere All At Once is probably the best film I’ve ever seen.

Everything Everywhere: Wonderful Chaos and Emotions All at Once

The film focuses on Michelle Yeoh’s Evelyn, a woman who runs the laundromat under her apartment with her husband as she tries to navigate all of the chaos in her life. Her marriage is failing, her relationship with her daughter is on the rocks, and she’s constantly doing whatever she can to earn back the love and respect from her father; not to mention she also has a Chinese New Year party coming up and the laundromat is also being audited.

All of the failures of her life have to this point, but what if she could sidestep those failures and move into a version of her life where she was happier? As I try to explain the general premise here, it occurs to me that I really don’t think any words could truly paint the proper picture that represents the goings-on of this film. 

With a similar approach to Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, I think the “no thoughts just vibes” mentality will work wonders for anyone’s enjoyment. The first hour or so is really chaotic and it feels difficult to get a grasp on what’s going on, but that chaos is intentional.

We’re put directly into the shoes of Evelyn as she discovers this infinite multiverse of worlds and abilities and opportunities, and we really feel that disorientation through her eyes. But none of that matters (even though it is brilliantly executed). The true heart of Everything Everywhere All At Once is its phenomenal execution of some of the most poignant emotional beats put to film. 

I could sit here for the next hour or so and write about how the action in this movie is some of the best on film in years, how the comedy is perfectly blended in with the life of the narrative, or how the visual style of the movie is absolutely stunning. But I don’t want to.

While the first hour and a half are layered with all those things I mentioned – wonderful frames, great comedy, incredibly choreographed action – none of it gets even close to the weight of the emotions come the last hour of the film. 

(A24 films)

Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert Have Created a Masterpiece

Everything Everywhere All At Once is exactly what it sounds like: a movie about everything. The writing on display here is something I don’t think could ever be replicated. Masterfully balancing themes of family, kindness, depression, anxiety, potential, regret, forgiveness, love, and the importance of presence.

I think anyone could come out of this film and take a lot from it, but it’s all dependent on the individual’s experience prior to seeing it. Almost as if it’s a movie made for everyone, everywhere, all at once.

Being the person that I am and having lived the life I have, the way this movie deals with depression and anxiety touched me more than anything else ever has. But somehow, because it’s written so beautifully, every one of its themes is perfectly intertwined with one another.

You can’t touch on depression or anxiety the way they did without delving into the family dynamic the way they did. That goes for every beat of the story. It’s almost as though they’ve written the perfect script.

This movie is the perfect manifestation of the phrase “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” It uses its first hour and a half to patiently lay all of the groundwork just so that it can spend its last hour leveling you and leaving behind the audience as a trainwreck.

I was having to physically stifle my sobbing just to not take others around me out of the experience. The movie knows exactly what to do at every moment to pull all the heartstrings, but it never feels like that’s its only goal.

The movie is almost an educational tool. Teaching its audience how to be better people, and I really think it succeeds. Never before have I felt so fundamentally different before and after seeing a movie. Almost as though my life is defined in two segments, before and after I experienced Everything Everywhere All At Once

I don’t any words you’re going to read about this film are truly going to do it justice. All you need to know is that it’s more than deserving of your time. Make time, take a weekend, and experience this.

My rating for this film:

★★★★★ / ♥♥♥♥♥

 

Everything Everywhere All At Once is now available in theaters. You can check out the trailer for it below or for more information on the movie visit A24 Films.

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