Each movie is a universe. If we are lucky, those stories that are told in frames that follow each other with narrative coherence will lead us to discover a unique world into which we enter hopelessly thanks to the power of the script. Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) is a perfect example of this. Like Dorothy when swept away by the tornado, we realize that we are no longer in Kansas when the script by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert disfigures reality and introduces us to the premise of the parallel universes through which its protagonist Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) must travel. Although Marvel and Disney have made the concept of the multiverse fashionable, here this element has a justification that goes beyond mere entertainment. Conceptually, these parallel universes are channels those directors use to separate the emotional layers of their central characters.
Evelyn’s seems to be the life of lots of immigrants. Leaving her native China, she settles in the United States in search of the famous (or infamous) American dream. With her age bending her back, a stagnant business and a pile of bills she tries to balance to play the role of mother, wife, and daughter. Routine and chaos mix and Evelyn no longer knows if she moves by desire or impulse. Her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) and her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) complete the equation and are the points where the story turns.
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Impossible not to bite the bait. The cinematography of Larkin Seiple (Swis Army Man) finds fertile ground in the production design of Jason Kisvarday (Palm Springs, Sorry to Bother You) and together with the editing work of Paul Rogers (The Death of Dick Long) which presents visual level is hypnotizing. Everything Everywhere All at Once moves at a blistering pace, leaving little room for us to catch our breath. The staging is just a pretext for Kwan and Scheinert, from the directing chair, to develop the subtext of a story that is more than travel in the multiverse and impressive action sequences.
The analogies that we can read along Evelyn’s frenetic path allude firstly to the mother-daughter relationship and in deeper contexts to existential dilemmas and the father-daughter correspondence. In this organized chaos, which is structured with an unusual adventure, the marital relationship will also play a predominant role. It is not only the form that makes this film a unique experience, deep down there is a script that transcends, that proposes and that takes risks. Comedy is the spearhead, when it hits it opens the way to new possibilities for us to jump from one genre to another with the same ease with which Evelyn and Waymond jump from one universe to another.
“If nothing matters, then all the pain and guilt you feel for not doing anything with your life goes away.”
With an arsenal of nods that refer to other films such as The Matrix (1999), Kill Bill (2003) and the most hilarious of all, Ratatouille (2007), the absurd, but compelling universe of Everything Everywhere All at Once fascinates us with the anarchy of his speech that never gets lost in its grandiloquence, but feeds on it to conceive an unforgettable film.