Everything Everywhere All At Once is a Masterpiece (Movie Review)


Aiden DeMonte, Staff Writer

“Everything, Everywhere, All At Once” is one of the best movies ever made and it is currently in theaters right now. 

The movie starts with Evelyn Wang in her house. She is unhappy with her life. She runs her own laundromat, which is under threat of repossession due to tax issues. During the process of figuring out her tax situation, we see she’s tried to make something of her life throughout so many years, through various jobs and hobbies. She’s tried everything, and yet she feels like she’s nothing. Her husband, Waymond, isn’t getting the attention he wants from her and is going to present divorce forms to her due to it. Her father, Gong Gong, never approved of her marriage, and yet he’s now being taken care of by Evelyn. Her daughter, Joy, feels disconnected from her own mother in the same way Evelyn felt about her father. She just wants to introduce her girlfriend to Gong Gong and live her life free of judgements. And yet she somehow doesn’t get enough attention from her family, and the attention she does get from her mom is negative and weighing down on her. It seems like Evelyn’s life is at a standstill. 

Then the movie becomes a sci-fi, action comedy movie about the multiverse, and how a great evil is spreading throughout it. The movie already has a lot going on, so much so that you would think the movie would trip under its own weight, and have to drop or butcher character arcs. But the directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, smartly weaved Evelyn’s backstory directly into the multiverse plot. The agent who teaches her everything is Waymond, one from a different universe. His love for Evelyn is reflected in his journey to reach her in this universe and train her, and by making him the mentor, the film can keep them close and let their relationship take a natural course. The main evil possesses her daughter Joy, the trauma that she’s had to endure from struggling with her identity manifesting in an apathy that becomes a world ending evil. The different universes are shown through which different choices in life she took, which allows her to directly reflect on her own and see what she did to end up here. This is such a smart set up for the movie, and allows the movie to both balance drama and fun elements in the same breath. 

As masterfully as the dramatic elements are handled in this movie, this is only one aspect of it. It has several sequences of action, mostly based in martial arts. Stars Michelle Yeoh and Le Huy Quan are no strangers to fight scenes in their careers, and the ones in this movie are all great. The multiverse lets each character tap into different skills and abilities from other universes, leading to a high amount of diversity and creativity in each scene. Each set piece is different in the way it approaches its conflict, and yet they are all collectively funny, intelligent, and well choreographed. The camera work is never distracting and each brawl is memorable. 

The movie is very funny as well, the humor is most reminiscent of The Lonely Island’s SNL digital shorts, there’s a level of wit in the dialogue while maintaining a level of surrealness and surprise. The concept of infinite universes is not underutilized at all, as several shown timelines are goofy and come completely out of left field. For example, my favorite universe shown by far is one referred to as Racoony: In a hibachi restaurant Evelyn works at, her talented coworker is secretly being controlled by the hair by a raccoon a la Ratatouille. There is a consistent level of imagination with its jokes and plots that truly floored me and had me laughing out loud several times. 

Every single technical aspect of the movie is fantastic as well. It´s special effects look better than most Marvel movies on a fraction of the budget, the costume design is varied and perfect for every scene ranging from elegant dresses to everyday clothing. The cinematography is striking, with many memorable shots, the colors pop out, the score fits every time it’s used, the movie also has a great end credits song featuring Mitski and David Byrne. Every single main performance is Oscar-worthy and will likely end up being better than the people that will beat them. The direction in this movie is incredibly strong, even if you went into the movie blind on the crew behind it, you would be able to pick up on the strong vision that permeates the movie. 

As you can see, there are several different themes, genres, and storylines that I’ve laid out from this movie. This film is very stuffed in its plot, overwhelming in its visuals, but not to its detriment. Structure is what makes this movie work. It is divided into 3 parts. Part 1 starts in one universe and has the multiverse slowly creep into the players in that specific universe. This eases the audience into its concept and it makes sense as Evelyn is just learning about the parallel timelines for herself. As she gets better and as she progresses, the second part begins. We start to visit these other universes, see other Evelyns, see lives that don’t belong to her. We explore multiple universes through our own/ her own eyes. Now that we understand the set up of the movie, the plot starts to get wilder. Ramping up insanity, building on what was presented earlier, getting more out there with its settings, action and humor. Part 3 then throws out the linear narrative. Things get intentionally overwhelming, this section is the climax of the movie, and it does not go the way you might think it would. The multiple universes’ storylines all collide within each other, the editing shines as we see each different timeline all get an ending that all seem to happen at once. So much is happening and yet everything is clear. These timelines may have nothing in common, but they all end emotionally and thematically the same way. Without spoilers, the movie tackles generational trauma and nihilism in its final moments. The struggle of making something of our lives, is it better to find comfort in the fact that nothing matters? The film makes it clear to us that everything matters, it uplifts our spirits. I left the theater feeling moved into a positive mindset. We can always make something of our lives, we should stay true to ourselves and stay positive and make everything of what we have. Don’t waste away into despair and the nihilistic viewpoint we so easily can fall into, don’t think of hypotheticals on what could’ve been our life, but rather focus on what we have. This is what makes the movie become an experience truly worth visiting.

“Everything Everywhere All At Once” is a masterpiece. It’s a movie that impresses in every aspect of its production. It’s a film that can please anyone, whether you want a fun time at the movies or something challenging. It fully leverages the multiversal concept to its advantage and uplifts the audience. This movie is currently in theaters, I implore you to watch it if you get the chance. This sets the standards for the ever growing multiverse sub genre of movies and is a future classic. 10/10.