Prepare for one hell of a head trip when you go and watch Everything Everywhere All At Once. This onrush of surreal imagery, dark humour, full-throttle action and heightened emotion is poised to go down as one of 2022's best movies.
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What is the story of Everything Everywhere All At Once?
Split into three acts as per its title, Everything Everywhere All At Once deals with the limitless possibilities of the multiverse. When a Chinese-American woman named Evelyn discovers alternate versions of herself, she is pulled into a dizzying and surreal odyssey, which also becomes a yearning analogy for the connection to her estranged daughter.
When Evelyn's laundromat business undergoes an IRS audit, after which she also discovers her husband's plans for a divorce, she finds herself pining for the life she could have led. A multitude of different Evelyns then manifests, ranging from a movie star to a martial arts star to a chef and a lot more.
With the universe seemingly under threat from a god-like being that can 'verse-jump' between different dimensions, Evelyn must locate her inner strength to save all of humanity and repair the relationship with her daughter.
Who stars in Everything Everywhere All At Once?
Everything Everywhere All At Once is a fine showcase for Shang-Chi and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star Michelle Yeoh. Through the frenetic medium of Everything Everywhere All At Once, Yeoh is able to unite the disparate parts of her acting career, which has ranged from ferocious martial arts action to sensitive drama (The Lady; Crazy Rich Asians).
Yeoh is ably supported by Halloween star Jamie Lee Curtis who has a lot of fun as the meddling IRS auditor who also becomes something of a multiverse nemesis. The movie also marks the big-screen return of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies star KeHuy Quan. He plays Evelyn's husband Waymond.
The excellent cast also encompasses Stephanie Hsu (The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel) as Evelyn's alienated daughter Joy. Hsu also doubles up as the dangerous Jobu Tupaki, the entity that threatens the entire universe.
Veteran actor James Hong (Blade Runner), who recently received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, also makes a strong impression as Evelyn's overbearing father Gong Gong.
“I had never read anything so crazy,” Yeoh recalls in an interview with Empire Magazine. “I couldn’t even wrap my head around that whole concept. I’m a dinosaur — I don’t really know how to get online and Google things. [Directors the Daniels] had me going, ‘Maybe I don’t really understand, but you know what? They have intrigued me.’ And I love a challenge.”
Who directs Everything Everywhere All At Once?
Everything Everywhere All At Once is directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, better known by their collective name Daniels. The duo's penchant for wacky surrealism and high concept action was demonstrated in the earlier Swiss Army Man, the Daniels' feature film debut that cast Daniel Radcliffe as a flatulent corpse and Paul Dano as the man who uses the body as a life raft.
Even before that, Daniels established its reputation via the medium of short films and music videos. Daniels crafted the offbeat videos for Tenacious D's Rize of the Fenix and The Shins' Simple Song, among others.
The Daniels describe Everything Everywhere All At Once as an intensely personal one that is related to their relationship with their respective parents. Kwan tells Empire Magazine: "Our parents are constantly having to deal with the fact that we are their kids. Like, ‘I am the parent of the guy who made the Farting Corpse Movie.’
"This movie in some weird way is a reflection of that. The daughter is this strange creature, and the mother has to go on the journey to basically become a monster herself in order to connect with her. Hopefully, it’s a very gracious portrayal of our relationship with our parents.”
What have the critics said about Everything Everywhere All At Once?
Little White Lies critic Weiting Liu is one of those who has been bowled over by the film's ambition, emotion and visual panache. She writes: "Paying tribute to the vast repertoire of Hollywood classics and world cinema, Everything Everywhere All at Once strikes an immaculate balance between mind-blowing originality and nostalgic cinephilia. While its commercially successful predecessors such as Crazy Rich Asians and Shang-Chi bear contextual meanings as cultural milestones, this film – despite its whirlwinds of delicious madness – gets back to the basics of good filmmaking first and foremost."
Everything Everywhere All At Once currently sports an impressive 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with a total of 264 reviews. Will it maintain its standing as 2022's most lauded movie?