Regardless, this is that rare, blue moon of a movie that proves to be one of the most magical, inventive, and visually stunning experiences you’ve likely ever seen.
As directed by Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), “Everything Everywhere All at Once” tells you right upfront that you’re in for a hell of a ride through a multiverse of infinite potential, and Daniels more than live up to their end of the moviegoing experience bargain.
4.5 out of 5 stars
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In fact, there are sequences in “Everything Everywhere All at Once” that I still can’t wrap my head around how exactly this directing duo managed to capture and/or create such moments without the use of glaringly obvious CGI.
More than anything, though, what Daniels have created is as emotionally powerful and poignant as it is mesmerizing to behold.
Yeoh plays Evelyn Wang, a frazzled, overworked and emotionally absent wife/mother/laundromat owner, who went against the wishes of her father Gong Gong (James Hong) and married the nebbish but devoted Waymond Wang (Ke Huy Quan). Years later, she has disassociated to such a degree that she hasn’t even processed the fact that Waymond has filed for divorce, and she can’t help but consistently say the wrong things to her daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu), who only wants to introduce her family to her girlfriend.
What has Evelyn so distracted? Her laundromat is being audited by a ferocious and unsympathetic IRS agent named Deirdre Beaubeirdra (Jamie Lee Curtis, in a standout performance destined to be one of her most iconic), and Evelyn just can’t find time to finish her business taxes.
During a fateful visit to meet with Deirdre, Evelyn discovers that Waymond has been possessed by another version of himself from a different dimension, and that she is believed to be the one person in all of existence in every conceivable universe to possess the power to save reality from imploding. The "who" at the heart of the mystery surrounding the collapse of the multiverse will surprise you.
If you’re a fan of Marvel Studios, or DC Films, then you aren’t unfamiliar with the concept of a multiverse. In the hands of Daniels, however, the multiverse becomes something wholly unexpected.
Yes, there are whiz-bang gadgets that allow people to teleport between universes or inhabit the bodies of their other selves in other universes, but what really shines through in “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is how glimpses of other lives serve to strengthen the characters, and not fill them with resentment or guilt.
Evelyn, for instance, sees what her life would have been had she followed her father’s wishes, and that future involves both celebrity status and kick-ass martial arts.
Speaking of kung fu, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is at its gonzo best when Daniels unleash a frenetic assault of inspired action, and Yeoh, 60, who starred in a host of action-heavy roles, from “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” to “The Heroic Trio,” reminds everyone once again why there’s no better physical female actor working today.
And we haven’t talked about butt plug fu, tiny yip-yip dog fu and Elvis impersonator fu.
If there’s any criticism to be offered, it’s simply that “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is almost too much movie to take in at one time.
It’s nearly impossible for your eyes to keep up, which can become a bit exhausting, especially when the film teases not one, but two, false and abrupt endings.
Don’t be discouraged, though. There is a reward for making it all the way across the span of infinity, and that comes in the form of a beautiful and heartfelt reminder that family above all makes this crazy life worth living.
Sometimes, we just have to get out of our own way, and taste all the possible what-ifs imaginable, in order to appreciate what we already have.