Everything Everywhere All at Once Review – Strong Performances Carry This Mashup

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Everything Everywhere All at Once, from A24, presents a multi-verse adventure as a mild mannered Chinese laundromat owner is chosen to save the world and travels through different universes encountering herself and what she could have been.

We met Evelyn, played by Michelle Yeoh, who along with her husband, Waymond, played by Ke Huy Quan, are preparing for an IRS audit, and a Chinese New Year's celebration, all on the same day. Her father, played by James Hong, has arrived from China, and is as cantankerous as always, and worse when he does not have a proper Chinese breakfast, so with the extra pressure of making sure she has all the receipts for her audit, she needs to make the breakfast noodles just right.

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We meet her daughter, Joy, played by Stephanie Hsu and her girlfriend, Becky, played by Tallie Medel who are here to help with the New Year's party. Her husband, Waymond, is also arriving with something entirely unexpected, and we see that he is serving her with divorce papers. Soon as she hurries around needing to do everything, oversee everything and ensure everything is correctly done, we see over her shoulder what appears to be her husband doing gymnastics.

Soon we are in the elevator at the IRS and suddenly Waymond, becomes a different person and explains she has been chosen to save the world. She has two choices, and here are a set of instructions. Evelyn, still dutiful and determined, sits down with the IRS agent, Deirdre Beaubeirdre, played by Jamie Lee Curtis.

As the meeting is resolved, Evelyn is universe jumping as she is following the direction, Super Waymond wrote down. Soon she sees everyone, including the IRS agent Deirdre, who is part of the evil universe warriors sent to kill her. Suddenly intoxicated by the idea of escape and relevance, she follows through on all Super Waymond's directions and she becomes Super Evelyn.

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As the film progresses, Super Evelyn visits parts of her life that would have been different if she had made different decisions, actress, kung-fu master, Hibachi chef, lesbian lover, warrior and meets each of the most important and meaningful relationships in their alternative universe.

What follows is the universe jumping of all the characters who are hunting Jobu Tupaki, the alternative personality of Joy, who controls an army of followers.

We learn early in the film the belief that every choice made by every person is connected like dots on a map to a next choice, or a domino effect as one single action can cause an infinite number of reactions through time, places and people that will never be known or realized by the first, individual.

The alternative multi-verse fascination, for me, has limits. In many films it is done well, for me Everything Everywhere All at Once is not that. The performances are strong and compelling and as awards season has shown worthy of accolades. This shows great talent can rescue mediocre writing.

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Everything Everywhere All at Once will be prominent in the upcoming Academy Awards announcements, with Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, both of whom have already won a Golden Globe for their performance and Jamie Lee Curtis all expected to be nominated.

Michelle Yoeh pulls off the quick change throughout the film and with credibility we see her transform as see travels through each of these universes and decides to save what is worth saving. The entire cast embraces their characters, and we travel with them through the bizarre, as much for intrigue as performance.

As far as entertainment value, The Daniels, the writing and director team of Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, I felt were using Everything Everywhere All at Once as a full length audition tape for Marvel studios.

Everything Everywhere All at Once, which will probably have a second theatrical release run, is already available on streaming platforms. Some would say an awesome psychedelic 1960s acid trip of a film, other a mashup of disjointed, disparate pieces. See it and decide for yourself, and with streaming you do get everything everywhere all at once. Stream it.

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Country: U.S.

Language: English, Cantonese.

Runtime: 139 minute.

Director: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert.

Producers: Daniel Kwan, Mike Larocca, Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, Daniel Scheinert, Jonathan Wang.

Writing: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert.

Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis, Stephanie Hsu, James Hong, Jenny Slate, Harry Shum, Jr., Tallie Medel, Jane Lui, Randall Archer, Timothy Eulich, Peter Banifaz, Biff Wiff, Dylan Henry Lau, Randy Newman, Audrey Wasilewski, Anthony Molinari, Andy Le.

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