After much hype and praise on social media, Everything Everywhere All at Once has finally been released in UK cinemas. With such high praise proclaiming it as the film of the year and potentially the decade, the big question is, does it live up to the hype?
To put it simply, yes. It certainly lives up to its own title. This film is an absolutely (pardon my French) batshit insane experience that is amazingly singular, bonkers, and wholesome all at the same time. Everything Everywhere All at Once follows Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), an ageing Chinese immigrant whose life seems to have stalled. She’s been stuck running a laundromat for the past 25 years; her marriage to her aloof husband, Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) is failing; she can’t connect to her gay daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu); Her disapproving father, Gong Gong (James Hong) is visiting from China and to cap it all off they are being indicted by the IRS. Things seem to be going wrong at every turn but when Waymond suddenly changes personality and tells Evelyn she is the only person who can stop a multiversal threat, she will be sent on a journey like no other.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw a film that manages to walk the fine line between absurd and heart-warming with such ease as this one. It’s a true balancing act and one that can only be performed by both a masterful writer and director. Luckily, this film has two. Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively known as Daniels, bring so much passion and heart to this film. It’s clear from every part of the perfect script and direction how much this story means to them and that even when the film is at its most ridiculous, they aren’t afraid to quickly throw a gut punch at the audience, and then go right back to laughs (of which there are many). This is because at the heart of the film are the deep, relatable themes of family and acceptance. It particularly struck a chord with me during the final moments with the realisation that this is a film that is perfect for our current times where all hope seems lost but there is goodness out there if you look for it.
Of course, I can’t talk about this film without mentioning the brilliant performances, specifically Michelle Yeoh who is just incredible. She manages to bring exactly what every scene calls for right at any given moment from badass action to realistic laughs to deep emotion and all the while, never giving a knowing wink to the camera. She and the other actors in the film treat the situation with a seriousness that, even when things get mighty ridiculous with hot dog fingers and racoon puppetry, never becomes self-indulgent.
Honestly, this is a near-perfect film that left me laughing, awestruck and nearly in tears by the end. It’s a real rollercoaster ride of a film that left me overwhelmed and exhausted from everything I had experienced and not in a bad way. As I said earlier, never has there been a more appropriate title for a film, and I don’t think there ever will be again.