REVIEW: ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ is excellent

After this movie, you’ll never look at googly eyes the same way again.

This film stars Michelle Yeoh as a woman, Evelyn, who owns and operates a laundromat with her husband, Waymond (Jonathan Ke Quan). Their marriage has become strained, though, and she doesn’t have the best relationship with her daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu), either. On top of her family matters, Evelyn also has to deal with an audit into the laundromat by the IRS.

At a meeting with an IRS employee, Evelyn is contacted by different version of her husband from another universe who informs her that she may be the only being in the multi-verse who can prevent a calamity. To do so, Evelyn will have to tap into abilities from other versions of herself from alternate universes.

As the title may suggest, “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is a lot to take in. The film is a sci-fi epic with a plethora of alternate universes where intense martial arts battles take place with a giant threat looming.

However, all of that plays out with a big coating of comedy, as the film is full of laugh out loud moments. On top of its action and sci-fi elements, which are enhanced by the humor, the movie also digs deep into emotional themes, creating a multi-layered experience.

“Everything” is really about much more than a wild conflict spanning universes. The movie is about relationships, from parental to marital, with a lot of insight given to both.

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Courtesy A24.

As the film plays out, it explores Evelyn’s troubled history with her father, who disapproved of her decision to move to the United States. Additionally, in several ways, it examines how Evelyn’s own actions as a parent herself resulted in a distanced relationship with Joy.

The director/writer team of Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert did remarkable work in making all of this come together as well as it did. This is a film where a fight scene with oddball humor will breakout while characters are having an emotional moment, and it never feels disjointed or tonally off.

It’s an impressive effort worthy of praise. The film is able to touch on the results of major life decisions, what it means to seek the American dream, and generational relationships, all while delivering stunning action.

The fight choreography featured is off the charts, as the movie has some of the best combat sequences shown on screen in a while. One highlight includes a character battling a group of security guard armed with just a fanny pack.

Those fight scenes are made even more memorable, though, because of the bizarre and wacky elements added to the film. The final battle moments are especially clever because of the unique way the main character defeats opponents.

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One aspect really powering “Everything” is Michelle Yeoh. The legendary actress fully embraces the role, weirdness and all, making Evelyn a fully realized character, or characters considering the multi-verse element of the movie.

Yeoh excels in capturing the comedic aspects at one point, and portraying her character’s stress regarding her many relationships in the next. It’s a wildly diverse performance.

The supporting cast is superb, too. Quan is terrific in going back and forth from a warrior in one universe to a timid man in another. James Hong, as expected from the veteran actor, is also great, and Hsu is brilliant as a young woman trying to forge her own path, which is shown in many ways.

A lot of credit has to go to Jamie Lee Curtis, too, who really ups the ante as one of the film’s primary antagonists.

“Everything Everywhere All At Once” is an off-the-walls film all about characters breaking down walls, physically and metaphorically. While the films ending could’ve been a bit tighter in its execution, it’s absolutely a success overall. 4.75 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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