Many movies find their specific niche, a brand they can associate themselves with in a confined and concise way. For some, that is the arthouse indie route. Then there is the ‘marketable’ route, in which there is an arguably overstuffed amount of crowd-pleasing action and adventure movies with enough comedy and slick choreography to please the masses. But there is a third option, a type of movie that can satisfy the needs and wants of all types of movie buffs. One of the most prominent contemporary examples of this is the innovative masterpiece from A24, Everything Everywhere All At Once.
The film, at its core, is about familial relations. But even more than this, it is about generational trauma and traits that permeate throughout a lineage to affect everyone involved. But this message of the film is nothing without the impressive cast to evoke the feelings and mannerisms associated with such profound storytelling. The film houses powerful talents, including Michelle Yeoh, Jonathan Ke Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis, James Hong, Stephanie Hsu, and many more. The cast does an amazing job of not only embodying the essence of their character, and the societal issues that each one represents and deals with, but also the multitude of various other versions of each character within this multiverse.
Everything Everywhere All At Once manages to subvert the failings of many multiverse movie tropes. Outside of the very human message at its core, the film manages to have a meta quality to it, with several characters referring to the absurdity of the multiverse. While this is largely self-referential, the film also seems to take jabs at the superhero genre and how it handles multiverse stories—all while never becoming hypocritical and falling into the same old tropes.
The plot focuses heavily on the mother-daughter relationship of Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh)—who owns and runs a laundromat with her husband Waymand Wang (Jonathan Ke Quan) with whom she has marital issues—and her daughter Joy Wang (Stephanie Hsu). The story culminates with Joy becoming an almost God-like being from another reality.
Where the film succeeds is its synergy. Yes, it has beautifully choreographed, authentic fight scenes that put many huge blockbuster films to shame. Yes, the acting is superb, conveying the intricate details of messy family dynamics. Yes, the cinematography is wonderful, constantly surprising you with its creativity. But none of these aspects outshine each other. They work in tandem to produce a film that feels genuine and worthwhile. Go see Everything Everywhere All At Once. It's well worth the time and price of admission. (A24, Rated R for violence, sexual material and language. Playing in theaters and streaming on Amazon Prime.)