“Everything Everywhere All at Once” lives up to its title

A masterpiece about nihilism, generational trauma and … googly-eyes?

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is a science-fiction action-comedy from Daniels, a filmmaking collective consisting of Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. The film stars Michelle Yeoh (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), Stephanie Hsu (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), Ke Huy Quan (“Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”), Jenny Slate (“Bob’s Burgers”), James Hong (“Chinatown”) and Jamie Lee Curtis (“Halloween” franchise). In the film, we follow a Chinese-American woman being audited by the IRS who discovers that she must connect with other versions of herself from across the multiverse in order to stop an evil being from destroying every single universe.

From watching the trailer, all I was expecting was an entertaining film with great action and hilarious moments. After having seen the film, I can say that “Everything Everywhere All at Once” contained all of these elements, but also managed to be so much more. Sure, the movie is funny, creative and fast-paced, but the film manages to balance these elements with a strong emotional core and some fascinating themes (e.g., nihilism, generational trauma).

One of the film’s most defining aspects is its script. Kwan and Scheinert made their feature debut with 2016’s “Swiss Army Man.” I don’t remember if I finished the film, but I do remember enjoying its bizarre and surreal sense of humor. It goes from fart jokes to existential drama in a way that feels surprisingly natural and heartfelt. Although the film had all of that going for it, the main problem I had was that it felt like it was being random simply for the sake of being random.

No such problem existed with “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” The film is still incredibly random, and there are moments where it feels like the directors were just messing around with what they could and couldn’t put in the film, but it feels a lot more meaningful this time around. The movie is about the multiverse and the idea that every tiny decision can completely change any other possible universe. Certain decisions can create a universe where everybody has hot dogs for fingers (not only is that actually in the movie, but it isn’t even close to being the weirdest thing in this movie). These random moments are also complemented by some surprisingly effective emotional beats, as the film discusses the concepts of generational trauma, mental illness and nihilism. Hell, the movie actually made me cry in the last fifteen minutes.

Another fantastic element of the film is the directing from Kwan and Scheinert. There are many cinematography and editing choices that add a lot of energy to the film. For example, whenever we see characters going through the multiverse, we see the background completely change for a split second for each alternate universe. Not only that but there’s also a lot of creativity in the type of universes shown, from a dystopian sci-fi world to one where there are no people and only rocks.

Finally, the actors’ performances are another fantastic element that props up the film. Michelle Yeoh in particular is stellar, although a lot of that is because I have only seen her in action-heavy roles in the past (specifically “Supercop” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”). With that being said, her comedic timing and emotional performance help make Evelyn an interesting and relatable character. Ke Huy Quan was also really great, and he had a very powerful emotional beat near the end of the film that almost made me tear up; he’s come a long way from Short Round in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” But out of all of the film’s performances, I’d say that Stephanie Hsu gave the best performance out of everybody. She adds a lot of subtlety to all of her characters, and her emotional beats were handled fantastically.

This film is difficult to talk about, as I want everybody to watch it as soon as possible and with as little information as possible. It’s funny, creative and action-packed, but also has a lot of effective emotional beats and explores serious topics. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is, in my opinion, a masterpiece, and even though this is only April 2022, I think that it might end up being the best film of the decade.

Rating: 10/10