Everything, Everywhere, All At Once: All Of Our Choices Led Us Here

What led you to click on this little blog post? Did you see the picture and think it looked interesting? It could be my strange amount of self-promotion that lured you in. It could also be curiosity over the film itself. I hate to break it to you, but this will be a tedious, mundane, and ultimately uninteresting post. Just about as dull as doing laundry and taxes. 

Everything, Everywhere, All At Once premiered at SXSW on March 11th of 2022, before having both a limited and wide release when it saw success. It quickly became a critical commercial success, earning over $100 million worldwide. It is a personal favorite of mine, topping my chart from the best movie of the year, followed closely by TÁR and Marcel The Shell With Shoes On. It is directed and written by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (The Daniels). I am a fan of their other movie Swiss Army Man from 2016. Everything stars Michelle Yeoh, who delivers one of the year’s best performances. Stephanie Hsu matches in talent with a star-making turn. Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis round out the fantastic cast. But how can this be true for a dull, mundane, and ultimately uninteresting movie? Minor spoilers are ahead, but I promise nothing that will ruin the film!

Evelyn Wang (Yeah) is over Everything. She is stressed out by work; her husband is constantly pestering her; she can’t understand her adult daughter’s life; her father lives with her, and, the cherry on top, her family’s laundromat is being audited. She has made so many choices in pursuit of a good life. All of them have led her here. She, along with her husband Waymond (Quan) and father (James Hong), have come to the Auditor Of The Year award-winning officer Deirdre Beaubeuirdre (Curtis) for their audit meeting. But her world changes when Waymond begins acting strange in the elevator up. Things get extra mundane when he explains that Evelyn is the only one who can save the multiverse *yawns in sarcasm*. With the fate of both the multiverse and her family lives at stake, she will have to confront every choice she has EVER made and the effects of her actions and words. Maybe her husband isn’t happy after all. Perhaps her relationship with her daughter is strained because of her. Everything she knows is thrown into question as she explores Everything her life could have been.

While traveling the multiverse, Evelyn can tap into their skill set and see things through their eyes. She could have been anything from a famous singer to a rock, and Everything in between and beyond. Instead of returning to her life, she longs to stay in the universes where she has found success. Comparing it to her own life, she sees them as dreams. But she is dragged back again and again to the IRS building and put right onto the battlefield, both literally and metaphorically. When Jobu Tupaki, a version of her daughter Joy from a different universe, comes in with a sinister and self-imploding plan, Evelyn has to fight both her urge for a better life and the resentment she holds towards the one she has chosen. 

While it did come out in March and April, I thought it would be an appropriate time to submit my thoughts on it now as the year comes to a close. I have seen it countless times and yet the film is still a triumph. It meshes the sci-fi and action genres with great comedy that emphasizes the profound, borderline philosophical, heartwrenching moments at its core. Evelyn has to come to terms with the long-term effects of her words and actions against others and those against her. She must realize that these what-ifs and missed opportunities no longer matter. Evelyn may be in the right spot, the right universe, at the perfect time. That may be something we all need to learn. We are where we are for a reason. Yes, you could have been the next American Idol or even the first person to touch Mars, but you aren’t because you are needed just where you are. 

The emotional depths explored in the film continue to blow my mind. How can something with such a wild and eccentric plot hit so many beats with outstanding tenacity and understanding of its core. It’s heart. It’s soul. With the writing and directing done by the same two people, you can tell that the passion behind the project is genuine. In a world where so many emotional movies are serious, no fun, sad outings, Everything stands out as it embraces every piece of what it is. The strange and unusual aspects (I’m looking at you, Award Statue) are balanced well with sob-inducing moments of humanity where the characters are grounded across the multiverse. It is absurd on paper and requires viewing for anyone reading this.

Every actor is chosen beautifully. The Wang family, in particular, is well-constructed. Quan makes an excellent return to mainstream film as Waymond. His character teeters between panicked and afraid to fearless and outspoken. Yeoh brings humanity to Evelyn, but Hsu’s portrayal of her daughter Joy stands out to me. I recognized the name from her stint as Karen in The Spongebob Musical. It is always great to see stage actors getting their time to shine in mainstream media. I am disheartened to say she has not been nominated for Supporting Actress in a Musical or Comedy at the 2023 Golden Globes, but I still hope an Oscar is in her future. Before my formal goodbye, I would like to thank my family and friends for their support. While celebrating the holidays with my family my Aunt Jan and Uncle Hal ensured that I knew how much they enjoyed what I have to say. It made my heart very happy. I hope you can make someones heart happy too. Now, have a great night, and I truly hope you can find someone to do laundry and taxes with.

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