Everything Everywhere All at Once
by Hope Madden
The Daniels do not make ordinary films. In fact, they tend to make extraordinary films. While their charming 2016 fantasy Swiss Army Man slipped toward sentimentality, Daniel Scheinert’s remarkable 2019 solo follow up The Death of Dick Long did not.
Co-director Dan Kwan and his brand of sweet-natured lunacy are back for the duo’s big, big new effort Everything Everywhere All at Once. The result is an endlessly engaging, funny, tender, surprising, touching maelstrom of activity and emotion.
Michelle Yeoh is Evelyn Wang, and today is not her day. She has to meet an IRS auditor (Jamie Lee Curtis, priceless) about the lien on the coin laundromat she owns with her “silly husband” (Ke Huy Quan, nice to see you!). Meanwhile, she’s planning a big party for her judgmental curmudgeon of a father (James Hong, amazing). Instead of helping, her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) is clearly planning to come out of the closet. Today, of all days.
And then the multiverse shows up.
This is a hard movie not to love.
The Daniels find the absurd in the ordinary, wring emotion from the most mundane moments, and manage to create something adorable even when really large items are entering or hanging from — I don’t even know how to end that sentence.
On an unrelated note (I swear to God, it’s unrelated), what they do with hotdogs is inspired.
At the heart of the insanity lurks a spot-on depiction of a midlife crisis, and Michelle Yeoh’s depiction of that crisis is revelatory. The formidable veteran brings physical prowess and nuanced drama to the screen, as you might expect. She’s also really funny, but that wouldn’t be nearly enough to hold this manic experience together. Yeoh convinces while Evelyn arcs as no character has arced before.
Curtis, Hong, Hsu and Quan all provide excellent support in role after role after role. The real stars are the Daniels, though, who borrow and recast and repurpose without even once delivering something derivative.