‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ lives up to its 11 Oscar nominations
January 26, 2023
The film Everything Everywhere All at Once mixes comedy and drama and was both written and directed by the award-winning brothers Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. The cast includes Michelle Yeoh as the main character, Evelyn Wang, Ke Huy Quan as Waymond Wang, Evelyn’s husband, and Stephaine Hsu as their daughter, Joy. The plot follows Evelyn’s journey through different dimensions, being audited by the IRS, and generational trauma. The movie had a relatively low movie budget of 14 million dollars and grossed over 103 million dollars, becoming A24’s highest grossing film to date. The movie features incredible writing and stunning handmade visuals created by a team of just five talented artists.
“Wow” was the first thing I thought when I finished this film. Its small budget does not take away from its impact at all. The movie does not spare any creativity with its costumes; each outfit is immaculately crafted even if it is shown for a couple of seconds. From a pro wrestling costume to an Elvis jacket to high fashion, multiple styles appear in scenes that last a couple seconds. The visuals do not fall far behind either, as the apartment the Wang family lives in is cluttered with items, some worn with age and use. It feels like a realistic family home. These simple visuals are followed by fast paced visuals of Evelyn jumping through multiverses, each second containing Evelyn with a different appearance and in a different world, or the screen shattering with two different Evelyns in between the cracks. The action scenes are just as engaging, coordinated by martial artists Andy and Brian Le. The fight scenes seamlessly mix comedy with action.
Complementing the visuals is an exceptionally written story. The family feels realistic, and the dialogue between characters is natural. The way Evelyn talks to Joy and the multiverse versions of Joy made me feel like it was my own mother talking on the screen, Evelyn’s mannerisms also reflect my mothers, especially the way Evelyn switches from Mandarin Chinese to accented English.The comedic moments genuinely made me laugh with how well written they are even if they are sometimes a little crude. And while the movie does have Evelyn jumping through dimensions and experiencing different lives, the core of the movie is a compelling family drama. The multiverse is used to develop Evelyn’s character throughout the story. The multiversal setting allowed the Daniels to be creative about Evelyn’s development as a character and allowed them to play with some new possibilities.
However, the story would be nothing without the actors who play their characters perfectly. The acting never falls flat throughout the film. Michelle Yeoh’s acting is top notch as Evelyn—through Yeoh, Evelyn is brought to life. She feels like a real person who has had real disappointments and regrets throughout her life. Ke Huy Quan, despite not acting since the late ’90s, excels at his role as a soft-hearted and goofy husband and father. Stephanie Hsu plays the slightly estranged daughter role flawlessly, as a daughter who feels unappreciated by her mother. Due to the multiversal setting, the actors sometimes have to completely switch the personalities of their characters from calm to aggressive or sane to insane and each change is smooth, with no hesitation.
Everything Everywhere All at Once is a must-watch film. While not perfect, it comes close to perfection with a team that was clearly passionate about the movie they were making. It is almost criminal that this movie is not talked about and appreciated more.