‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ is fanatical ride with dark but personal message


Photo via A24

Everything Everywhere All at Once is a film that borders on insane but features nuance and heart.

Joseph Ferrer, Arts & Entertainment Editor

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” feels like a film that’s tailor-made for our current time period. In a day and age that’s never felt more uncertain amidst a global pandemic and unstable economies, this film mirrors the feelings of unease and bleakness of the world around us in a way that’s uniquely absurdist and bizarre but at the same time, honest and hopeful.  


The film focuses on the Wang family, which appears as a traditionally happy Chinese-American family but is quickly revealed to be going through immense troubles that ultimately leave the family feeling broken. Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) finds herself in the middle of an unhappy marriage with her husband (Ke Huy Quan), which is on the verge of divorce where neither of the two have fully expressed their concerns to each other about the state of their relationship. On top of this, their daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) feels frustration towards her mother for being unaccepting of her relationship with her girlfriend and long-lasting shame placed on her after her father is apologized to after her birth by the doctors for being given a daughter instead of a son. In an absurdist twist, the family is pushed when an audit on the Evelyn’s laundromatfrom the IRS is interrupted by Evelyn being tasked with a mission to save a multiverse of different realities of their family and world from destruction, with her being chosen since she is the most unfulfilled and unsatisfied person out of her family.  


The concept of a multiverse is quickly becoming overused thanks to Disney’s superhero efforts, but “Everything Everywhere All At Once”  uses its nonsensical premise and what is increasingly becoming a tired trope of a multiverse of realities to evaluate how we look at our own realities in our lives. Each of the actors delivers with their performance, helping contribute to the wildness of the scenarios and humor presented as well as the film’s deeper emotional tones. Not only does each actor do a great job at portraying their own selves but also the wild incarnations of their characters that they face within the different parallel universes as well, often bouncing between two tones within the same scene. The frantic action and fight choreography within the film is balanced out by the emotional undertones of the film as well. Yeoh in particular sells the idea of her character going through a mid-life crisis, one that consistently has left her feeling empty and desiring for more despite the world around her repeatedly not allowing her a chance.  


Despite portraying and reinforcing the brutal reality of Evelyn’s personal struggles, the film still manages to effectively communicate a message of hope despite her seemingly impossible circumstances. The idea of a multiverse is appealing since when our own realities seem bleak and unattractive, thinking about the what-ifs and what-could-have-beens can be fun. However, doing so in a way helps us truly understand our real circumstances, and “Everything Everywhere All At Once” captures that feeling of understanding.