Everything Everywhere All at Once is an emotional rush of adrenaline

Lauren Rayner, Entertainment Editor

With their strangely compelling and heartfelt 2016 release “Swiss Army Man,” directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, together known as Daniels, have shown themselves to be newfound innovators, willing to showcase what many would perceive as silly ideas and use them to tell a greater coming-of-age story that you weren’t expecting from the initial premise. Needless to say, their style was right up my alley and gave me an immense amount of excitement for whatever they were concocting next. Following that film is their latest acclaimed masterwork, “Everything “Everywhere All at Once,” a movie so vibrant and rapid, and so fantastic, it is tough to begin describing.

The film is a bombastic combination of sci-fi, adventure, action, and comedy, surrounding lead actress and action whiz Michelle Yeoh. The movie entails the journey Evelyn Wang (Yeoh) faces in attempting to save the world while getting derailed in a series of universes under a giant multiverse. Evelyn tries to achieve stability in the multiverse, and in the fracturing relationships between her husband and her daughter. If it sounds complicated, it is in a way, although it isn’t hard to follow once you are presumably sucked in. The entire movie is a beautiful frenzy. It is perfectly quick-paced despite an almost two and a half hour runtime.

Daniels know how to cast a movie, shown in their previous work, and it is absolutely showcased here. Every performance in “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is splendid and captivating, another standout being Ke Huy Quan, who plays the husband of Evelyn Wang, Waymond. Stephanie Hsu’s performance is perfectly bittersweet, playing Evelyn’s daughter, and provides the emotion to balance the chaos. Michelle Yeoh is finally used properly, not only as a great actress but as a raging fighter. Your eyes become transfixed on every single actor as each is giving their all to this visionary effort of a film.

With killer characters, the movie is jammed with great visual effects. In technical aspects, it is above par. The lighting is stunning, and the cinematography never failed to blow me away. Parts felt like the entire movie was filmed in one shot. It was smooth but jumpy when it needed to be. I swear I never wanted it to end. Throughout the multiverse, the fighting choreography was meticulous from each actor, adjacent to the Matrix and other classic martial arts films. Influences from those movies were not overpowering enough to interfere with the wildly unique nature of Everything Everywhere All at Once, but ended up working wonderfully in the movie’s favor.

I think to fully appreciate the movie, you have to embrace its loose yet crazy, crowded structure, and from then on it becomes an absolute joyride that holds your attention as if nothing else matters. It ingeniously found a way to include “meme” humor without feeling out of touch, which probably would have felt awkward if done by any other director or if it was in any other blockbuster film in our current media landscape. Jokes were actually laugh-out-loud funny and are guaranteed to age just fine as time goes on. Contrasting from the comedy aspect of the movie, with parts of emotion and incredible vulnerability between characters, there were effective touches of romance between Evelyn and Waymond that felt so natural and genuinely compassionate. The coming-of-age riff between mother and daughter is a prevalent theme throughout the movie, and it didn’t fail to evoke my tears. The movie marvelously encapsulates so many themes and moods without feeling too forced or tiresome. I knew “Everything Everywhere All at Once” was special when I had to pause crying to laugh.

It is a movie I want to watch a million more times in my lifetime, and even then, I don’t know If I will have fully grasped and appreciated every detail present in the movie. There were several times I was left teary-eyed with my mouth open, either from smiling or from being impressed and punched in the gut remembering how good movies can and should be. There are scenes still ringing in my head days later that cause me to full-on grin.

It is a reminder and refreshing reason to love and appreciate the medium of film, seeing a triumphant blend of comedy and genuine emotion on screen. It is overwhelming, vibrant, fun, moving, and hilarious, taking the ever so prevalent multiverse genre and actually doing something special with it. Daniels are simply raising the standards for movie-making. This movie serves as the blueprint of future cinema, showing that it is possible to embrace fun editing and atypical storylines while welcoming the emotional tang of a bittersweet relationship between mother and daughter. It shows power through the growth and acceptance of others, overcoming pain and trauma, all while hitting you with several scenes of a proposed hot dog finger universe, and there’s not a lot better than that.