Written By Hayden Claborn, Entertainment Reviewer
In the current cinematic landscape, it’s hard to find a film with a true vision. Ever since the death of the mid-budget movie, what audiences are offered is rather limited– you either get two-hundred-million-dollar superhero movies or small-scale independent movies. Today’s market is driven by IP(Intellectual Property) and while some great stuff can come out of that, it can leave one hungry for something original.
Everything Everywhere All at Once is a motion picture that defies conventional description and is bursting at the seams with creativity. The Daniels, a filmmaking team composed of Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, deliver one of the most headspinningly original movies in recent memory. The film starts out as a play on the notion “The only two certainties in life are death and taxes.” It follows Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) a Chinese-American who runs a laundromat with her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) and is struggling to connect with her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu). While being under threat from the IRS, Evelyn discovers a multiverse beyond her world and that everyone is going to be destroyed by a cosmic evil if she doesn’t do something.
That’s about as far as I’ll go, as one of the pleasures of Everything Everywhere All at Once is all the surprises it presents. All the action packed madness is just an excuse for a human and liberating story. No matter how cliche or corny it all sounds on paper, it is a touching story about love and motherhood. And about what bonds humanity together.
The performance by Michelle Yeoh is a tour de force. It’s not only a deeply physical performance as she effortlessly sells the ballistic action sequences yet also displays an array of human emotion. There are moments when Evelynn is selfish and moments where she’s in over her head. Yeoh is able to bring us along for the ride without losing sight of the character.
The surprise highlight comes from Key Huy Quan in his first major film role in decades. You may know him as Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but similar to Yeoh, he’s given a chance to show some serious range. One moment he’s a goofy husband and in the next a serious action star and then a romantic lead in a Wong Kar-wai flick. It’s a more than welcome return to the big screen.
Everything Everywhere All at Once could have easily gone wrong. It shows the Daniels great talent that their story never becomes messy or overloaded with shenanigans.Although flaws do exist (the humor is a smidge overbearing at times), they come from a place of risk-taking and pure love of the concept rather than laziness. No Hollywood suit could ever make this. It’s rare for a film to have this much philosophy while being this fun and emotional.