‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ film review — why this otherworldly sci-fi comedy triumphed at the Oscars
Have you ever wondered about your alternate self’s actions in a parallel universe? It's likely that you've imagined multiple descriptions, scenarios, and ideas about what your life might look like in a place that's completely inaccessible to your present self. The possibilities are boundless, surpassing even the most extravagant imagination. If you're intrigued by other universes, then the 2022 Oscar-winning drama ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ is a film you won't want to miss.
There are many reasons why the film caught the attention of millions of viewers all around the world, and earned multiple international awards, including seven Oscars.
Blending together elements of action, mystery, comedy, and absurdity into a single, cohesive whole, the story revolves around the Wang family, Chinese American immigrants who run a laundromat and grapple with the complexities of taxes. The plot thickens when Deirdre Beaubeirdre, an IRS inspector played by Jamie Lee Curtis, arrives and strange occurrences begin to happen to Evelyn Quan Wang, played by Michelle Yeoh.
A magnificent journey through multiverse
The story takes an otherworldly turn when Evelyn meets a version of her husband, Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), from the ‘Alphaverse’. Alpha-Waymond commandeers Waymond's body to explain the existence of countless parallel universes, each one created by the infinite life choices made by every individual. He further reveals that Evelyn is the only one capable of saving the multiverse from the destructive power of Jobu Tupaki's (Stephanie Hsu ) "Everything Bagel," a toroidal singularity that resembles a black hole and poses a threat to the existence of the multiverse.
Alpha-Waymond imparts upon Evelyn the knowledge of "verse-jumping," a skill that allows her to access the abilities and knowledge of every version of herself that exists in parallel universes. With this newfound skill, Evelyn sets out to save the multiverse and embark on an incredible adventure.
Discovering the layers of absurd expectations
The film elegantly divides itself into three distinct parts: everything, everywhere, and all at once. With coherent and purposeful narrative construction, it takes viewers on a journey through the lives of characters from all possible perspectives. This enables the audience to relate to the absurdist struggle that we all experience regardless of the time or place we live in.
At its core, the film is a powerful commentary on the absurdity of expectations and the problems of generational alienation. Hidden beneath its grandiose action sequences, 'Everything Everywhere All at Once' reveals itself to be a deeply emotional movie about family dynamics and relationships. The narrative centres around Evelyn's attempts to reconnect with her daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu), husband, and father, played brilliantly by James Hong. It deftly highlights the toxic nature of expectations applied to children, who are often pressured by their parents to become idealised versions of themselves.
The relationships between different generations often give rise to deep-seated generational trauma, which can be difficult to overcome. The customs, traditions, and cultural practices that have been passed down from the past can create a sense of disconnect between parents, grandparents, and their offspring. This trauma can take many forms, ranging from an intense drive to meet parental expectations or completely rejecting them. This often leads to self-harm and depression. 'Everything Everywhere All at Once' delves into the heart of such generational pain that permeates across multiverses, and demonstrates the power of misery, that can either propel life forward or lead to its destruction.
Everything Everywhere All at Once’s universal message
'Everything Everywhere All at Once' is a masterpiece of absurd comedy, a genre that is not often explored with such creative freedom and originality in cinema. As the famous absurdist writer Samuel Beckett once wrote,
You're on Earth. There's no cure for that.
While the film follows the same path of existential absurdity, it offers a solution in the form of acceptance and pure compassion. It encourages us to live a life free from expectations, embracing the beauty and complexity of our existence. A message that anyone can relate to, it resonates everywhere, all at once, with the infinity of countless versions of ourselves.
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Credits for the Main photo: Michelle Yeoh and Li Jing in Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) © Allyson Riggs
Photo Сredits: © IMDB
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