Nothing Matters… Isn't That Great?!: Everything Everywhere All at Once Genuinely Delivers on Its Title
We live in an age where corporate monopolies and an obsession with franchise-building have left us with a media landscape that feels both shallow and over-saturated. This has caused the more cynical among us to lament that there are no original films being made anymore. The last several years have obviously proved that notion false, but when mega-conglomerates view film as "content" rather than art it can often seem to be the case. That is just one of the reasons why I can't overstate my joy that the filmmaking duo of Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan (known collectively as Daniels) have given us Everything Everywhere All at Once, a film that contains more creativity, wit, humor, and emotion in a single scene than an entire year's worth of corporate-sponsored blockbusters. Leave it to this ingenious team to make a conversation between two rocks one of the most heartfelt scenes in years!
Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) is a middle-aged laundromat owner who is in a bit of a rut in her life. She is full of regrets about her life's choices, her husband (Ke Huy Quan) is considering a divorce, and she is being threatened with a tax audit. As her life is falling apart around her, a version of her husband from another dimension finds her and tells her that she must save the world by tapping into the infinite multiverse containing vastly different versions of herself based on the choices she made and didn't make throughout her life. This takes Evelyn on a multi-dimensional adventure confronting an all-powerful superbeing, her strained relationship with her daughter (Stephanie Hsu), and a bagel that threatens to consume the entire universe!
This film is a veritable treasure trove of creativity, providing endless fun as we follow Evelyn through all the different universes (including one where people have developed hot dogs for fingers!). It is also a feast for cinephiles as there are nearly too many references to classic films to even keep track of them all. Any film that references Ratatouille, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and In the Mood for Love at the same time wins my eternal respect. But underneath all this craziness is a very profound message of optimistic nihilism that I think we need in this time. The characters face this existential threat not with rage or violence, but rather with an aggressive positivity that is the real heart of the film. Because when nothing matters, everything matters. I think that's a message that can transcend every universe.
Everything Everywhere All at Once is written and directed by Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan // and stars Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, James Hong, Tallie Medel, Harry Shum Jr., Jenny Slate, Biff Wiff, and Jamie Lee Curtis // Rating: Five stars out of Five //139 minutes // rated 'R' // A24