The colossal “Everything Everywhere All At Once”


Getty Images for SXSW

Claire Schuppel reviews “Everything Everywhere All At Once.”

Claire Schuppel, Arts & Life Editor

Once in a blue moon, cinema is graced with extraordinary films that transcend the confines of time. Examples of this include “The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Godfather,” “12 Angry Men” or “Pulp Fiction.” A new film has joined the ranks of these masterpieces: “Everything Everywhere All At Once.”

“Everything Everywhere All At Once” was written and directed by the Daniels, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. The film premiered at South by Southwest in March, followed by a limited run and its major theatrical release on April 8. Prior to this 2022 release, the duo had only created one other feature film, “Swiss Army Man.” Both of their movies have been distributed by A24, the face of the modern independent cinema scene. 

The plot of the movie is complex, as it is an exploration of the “multiverse” concept, which has notably been featured in many recent Marvel projects. It follows the Wang family as the matriarch, Evelyn, discovers her ability to jump between universes. Complex themes of immigrant family structures, time, space, the universe, taxes, love and everything in between are discussed in this movie; it is impossible to adequately summarize such depth. It is heartfelt and heartbreaking, with loads of humor and absurdity mixed in.

The film’s star, Michelle Yeoh. (Getty Images)

Another aspect of the film is its stellar cast. It is led by Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn, known for her performances in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Crazy Rich Asians.” Her husband, Waymond, is portrayed by Ke Huy Quan, who was Short Round in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and Data in “The Goonies.” Their daughter, Joy, was played by Stephanie Hsu, best known for her Broadway performances and her role on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” The supporting talent is just as spectacular, featuring Jamie Lee Curtis, Jenny Slate, James Hong, Harry Shum Jr. and others.

Aside from the plot and cast, the cinematography and visual effects alone are enough to keep viewers engaged. Since it is so unique, finding an adequate comparison in any category seems insufficient. But, the quick pacing and movement of the camera felt similar to Edgar Wright’s body of work. It provides a maximalist sensation with something interesting to look at in every frame.

In recent years, sound design and scores have played a much more noticeable role in large scale filmmaking. In the past few months “Dune” and “The Batman” were two exceptional examples of master-level sound in film, and “Everything Everywhere All At Once” also delivers in this category. With a score from experimental music group Son Lux, supplemented by the talent of David Byrne, Mitski and Randy Newman (to name a few), all of the beautiful sounds are futuristic and extravagant. “This Is A Life” and “Fence” are the stand-out songs that came from the film.

As previously mentioned, it is difficult to verbalize exactly what makes this film so special, especially without giving crucial details away, so allow the ratings to persuade you to see this movie. As of April 11, IMDb rates the movie at a 9 out of 10, a score that only five other movies have ever achieved. It is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a 97% from critics. The film has now taken the number one narrative film spot from “Parasite” on Letterboxd, a staple social media for all movie lovers. Over 30,000 people have given the movie perfect scores on the website.

It is heartfelt and heartbreaking, with loads of humor and absurdity mixed in.”

“Everything Everywhere All At Once” is a complex film that doesn’t require a viewer to follow every single miniscule detail. Once you realize that the movie is meant to be an immersive experience, it is easy to let go of trying to piece things together. Following the different universes enhances the viewing experience, but since you are guided along beautifully, it is easy to keep up with the rapid motions.

If you are looking for a laugh, a cry or just to be entertained by a historic, revolutionary piece of media, make sure to see “Everything Everywhere All At Once” in theaters. The movie is too large – both in its production value and in importance – to see for the first time on a computer or TV at home. There is a lot to learn from what the Daniels present us with in the film, so go contemplate existence and theories of the universe in a theater near you.