Everything Everywhere All Too Much?


Picture of Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) via A24

On Tuesday, March 25, 2022, the film studio, A24, released its newest film “Everything Everywhere All At Once” directed by The Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheimart). A24 is the studio who’s responsible for producing and distributing some of the most iconic films of the last decade, such as Moonlight, Lady Bird and Midsommar – just to name a few. A24 is known for taking incredibly talented, underrated directors with little to no recognition and allowing them free reign to give life to their visions, which is extremely valuable in a world where cinema is dominated by big-budget superhero movies with explosions every five seconds. Every A24 movie is incredibly unique, creative and purposeful and “Everything Everywhere All At Once” was not an exception in the slightest.  


Despite the film releasing earlier in the year, it didn’t explode in popularity until the summer of 2022. I first heard about the film when it started trending on the app, Letterboxd. I clicked on the film’s profile only to find it at a 4.6 rating, making it tied with Parasite for the highest rated film on the whole app! I immediately began researching the movie and was flooded with reviews that described the film as a Masterpiece, Instant Classic, Life Changing, even The Best Film of All Time. My expectations had never been higher as I watched it in theaters the next day.


This film starts with the common middle aged Evelyn (played by Michelle Yeoh) and Waymond (played by Ke Huy Wang) , an asian couple who own a laundromat. We learn that Evelyn left her home, China, to go to the United States with Waymond against her father’s wishes. They have a teenage daughter, Joy, who seems to be disconnected from her family as she struggles to feel accepted. Evelyn and Waymond spend their days running the laundromat and doing taxes, causing Evelyn to regret all the choices she’s made that have led to her dull present. Amidst her unhappiness, suddenly a Waymond from another universe comes to tell Evelyn that she is some sort of “chosen one”, destined to defeat a being known as Jobu who has an unknown evil plan across the multiverse. Evelyn then has to learn how to jump between multiverses in order to defeat Jobu. Throughout this multiverse journey, themes such as nihilism, “what if?”, love, mother-daughter relationships, and human existence are explored. 


For starters, this movie is by far one of the most unique, creative, and ambitious movies I’ve ever seen. The fact that this movie was even made is incredible and you can’t help but admire it. The performances by Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn and Ke Huy Wang as Waymond are just breathtaking. The special effects are insane. The film has flash montages that may be some of my favorite moments in cinema ever. The costume design is one of the best I’ve seen as well as having a beautiful range of costumes. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” deals with themes I personally enjoyed exploring and the film is overall extremely well produced. 


However, although there are many positives in its production, I’m shocked how much I ended up hating this film. I don’t know how so many people absolutely loved it; I don’t know if we even watched the same movie. With a 2 hour run time, this film felt extremely long and hard to get through. So much so, that I celebrated its ending because I thought it was never going to end. Honestly, I enjoyed the first 45 minutes or so of this movie because of how natural it felt. It felt real. Then this movie blows up and turns into a Rick and Mortyish Pixar Matrix movie, in the worst way possible. It begins to feel overwhelming as the film begins losing control of itself. Just as the ambition is admirable, I also think it worked against them as this film feels like the writers included every single random and goofy idea they had. For a film dealing with very important and deep themes, it almost comes across as immature with the amount of random references or jokes in every other scene. This film has 50 climaxes with each being cornier than the last. The multiple fight scenes are extremely repetitive, getting so boring so, so fast. By the end, it feels like the film is trying to shove lessons down your throats, holding up a big sign saying “THIS IS THE THEME. NOW YOU SHOULD CRY.” It all just felt numbing and exhausting to watch. 


Despites its negatives in the plot arc, there is one aspect of this film that I really want to highlight. In the process of fighting Jobu, Evelyn gains the ability to be herself in all the different versions of herself in the multiverse. In this chapter of the movie titled “All At Once,” a few different versions of Evelyn are highlighted. One of them being a version of Evelyn who ended up becoming a famous actress after not going to the United States with Waymond. In this version of herself, she realizes how grateful she is for the life she actually has. She finds Waymond, from this specific universe, at an award show and they converse in an alley. In this emotional conversation, Waymond says, “I wanted to say, in another life, I would be happy just doing laundry and taxes with you.” Wow. What a line. This is what I wanted this movie to be. A heartfelt movie exploring emotional and impactful themes through a unique plot. There are so many moments in this movie that genuinely made me feel something and were the types of scenes that make a movie an actual Masterpiece. But then they’re interrupted with another fight scene, or a flying bagel, or hotdog hands and the effect is completely lost. It’s ironic that this movie itself is a “what if?” What if this movie took itself more seriously? What if this movie was tighter and more focused on the message it was trying to translate? It would’ve been what I was expecting it to be: a Masterpiece


I think everybody should give this a watch to form their own opinion, because it really clicks with some people. I’ll give this film a 5/10. Although I have to say, I thought it was a little Everything Everywhere All Too Much.