Everything Everywhere All at Once: A Chaotic Masterpiece

Tatiana Bird, Staff Writer

A24’s latest cinematic release, Everything Everywhere All at Once, is among the most ambitious films of the past decade. Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once is a thrilling odyssey that explores the idea of the multiverse and its ramifications. Within the overarching plot, however, therein lies the beautiful story of the humble Evelyn Wang and her path to finding contentment in the troubling timeline she finds herself in.

Despite the rise of somewhat recent films such as Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse adopting the multiverse as a major plot point, EEAAO manages to present a similar concept with originality and creativity. The film has a notably smaller budget than other recent productions at $25 million. In comparison, Marvel’s recent release, Dr. Strange In the Multiverse of Madness has a budget of $200 million. Although the smaller budget is undoubtedly felt, it does not act to the detriment of the production.

Without giving important plot points away, EEAAO focuses heavily on themes of love, family, and acceptance; the more down-to-earth feeling of the production created by its smaller budget is entirely congruous with the direction of the film. This subtlety adds a different mood to the film, creating a heartwarming and unique experience at the theater.                                                      

Beyond the larger themes and direction of the film, the acting is superb throughout the film and across all cast members. However, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan’s performances truly stand out, being nearly flawless. Quan in particular deserves credit for his impressive return to acting after over 20 years on hiatus, delivering heart-wrenching lines with sincerity and grace.

Upon my first viewing of EEAAO, I was struck by the humor incorporated throughout. There are memorable, laugh-out-loud moments interlaced throughout the main plot that sent the theater into hysterics. Wonderful chaos is the best descriptor I have for the organizational style of Everything Everywhere All at Once, these moments of humor are blended with beautiful moments of introspection and humanity to genuinely awe-inspiring results.

Despite the overwhelmingly positive experience I had watching EEAAO, the film does have its flaws. Creating such an ambitious film that incorporates the multiverse creates difficulties that are felt at points. The explanations of certain in-universe concepts were hard to follow at times, and the pacing tended to be slightly off at occasional points. This sentiment is echoed by others I’ve discussed the film with who found that they didn’t understand the mechanics of EEAAO’s multiverse initially. However, most agreed that they began to understand more as the events of the film unfolded.    

It was an entirely conscious choice to omit much of the context surrounding Everything Everywhere All at Once as I feel that for the best viewing experience one should enter blind with little to no context provided. Expectations that could be created by context would mar the “wow” factor that a first viewing should provide. 

I wholeheartedly believe that Everything Everywhere All at Once will be remembered as one of the best films of the 2020s. Its unique humor, lovable characters, and intriguing storyline all make for a fantastic viewing experience.