Review by Sean Boelman
Partnering two of the most idiosyncratic voices in indie filmmaking with who is perhaps the most mainstream duo in the studio system was an interesting if confusing prospect for cinephiles. But the risks taken with Everything Everywhere All at Once pay off, as it ingeniously blends blockbuster and indie sensibilities.
The movie tells the story of an everyday woman who is swept away in an unexpected adventure when a visitor from another universe tells her that she may be the only one with the ability to save the world from a powerful threat bent on destroying the multiverse. In terms of the story itself, it borrows some beats from other films exploring the same idea, but the approach that Daniels takes to it is very original.
Even though the movie is over two hours long, which one would normally think is a bit excessive for the genre, it is paced impeccably. Jokes that are set up early in the first act pay off in the third, and the action keeps everything moving along without overwhelming any of the more substantive, emotional moments.
Like Daniels’ previous outing Swiss Army Man, this film uses zany humor as a guise to deliver a gut-punching message. It’s best to experience the movie as it comes, letting its emotions take over you over the course of the runtime. Viewers will likely be surprised by how much of an emphasis there is on the mother-daughter relationship, which leads to some extraordinary moments.
Audiences will immediately get endeared to the protagonist. Even though she may come across as a bit standoffish at first, it’s hard not to connect with her support of her family. And while the movie is kept at a smaller scale, there are plenty of quirky supporting characters that are absolutely hilarious.
Michelle Yeoh’s performance in the leading role is truly fantastic, one of the best she has given in a career that is already filled with amazing turns. It was also awesome to see Ke Huy Quan return to acting with a substantial role that gives him a lot to work with. And in supporting roles, Jamie Lee Curtis, James Hong, and Harry Shum Jr. are all excellent.
The multiverse aspect of the film also allows some interesting stylistic choices to be made. Each multiverse comes with its own defining characteristics, and there are some moments that are brilliant. The action choreography in the movie is also consistently great, which is quite an accomplishment for a film that has a comparatively small budget like this.
Everything Everywhere All at Once is an early contender for the best movie of 2022. It’s without a doubt one of the most singular, creative things that has ever graced the screen, and it makes cinema feel more alive than ever.
Everything Everywhere All at Once is now in theaters.