Everything Everywhere All at Once

“The moment you realize you are not present, you are present. Whenever you are able to observe your mind, you are no longer trapped in it. Another factor has come in, something that is not of the mind: the witnessing presence.”

            -Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

As if (Being) John Malkovich warped through The Matrix to Kill Bill, Everything Everywhere All at Once is an extraordinary punch to the gut of all the cinematic banalities of the 21st century. We’ve been looking for a groundbreaker like this since the last “parting of the sensory”* in 1999 when movies placed cerebral stimulation above surface level entertainment. 

Yes, the plot may be too unconventional for some: A Chinese immigrant laundromat owner in a dysfunctional family inadvertently gets thrown into a fantastical multiverse full of second chances that result in a “butterfly effect” of a life of the upmost potential. However, for those who yawned through most of the Oscar nominees, this is a welcomed slap to the face (too soon?).

Like an RPG video game character, our heroine, Evelyn Wang (ferociously played by Michelle Yeoh), gets to look at herself in the mirror, battle her metaphorical demons, reform, and wash and repeat in hopes to not run out of lives and [Game Over]. One can’t help but think of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World or even the overlooked German hit of ’98, Run Lola Run

***1/2 out of ***** (in need of a diminuendo or tacet to reflect amidst the noise)

At times, I wished the movie tapped its powers for more emotional catharsis and Power of Now philosophy than the redundant Tarantino-esque ultraviolence. There are loopholes and confusing inspirations behind the scheme, but at least there is a perverse sense of humor on top—the kind of effed up humor that was needed in similar time-morph films like Inception and Looper.

And, that’s just it: I can keep comparing other movies to the little miracle of Everything Everywhere All at Once, but this odd duck will continue to stand alone as a multiverse hybrid with heart. Family values are embraced, regrets are reconciled, and there is an acceptance that “all the wrong turns, stumbles and falls brought us here.”** 

It’s an audacious film, not for everyone, and it’s good at that. 

*Modest Mouse
**Ben Folds

13 thoughts on “Everything Everywhere All at Once

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  1. Little miracle…odd duck…multiverse hybrid with heart. I could not agree more with these descriptions. Ironic it hit our theatres about the same time as Doctor Strange, and I know a lot of folks who believe Everything does the multiverse better…certainly with more passion and soul. Recommending Everything…to everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are spot on: This is a groundbreaker, and I completely agree that Unbearable missed the mark on something with potential to be just as innovative. Unbearable felt too self-conscious, forcing Nic Cage to force our own cartoonish perception of what his “real life” must be like onto the big screen, and we just get a “buddy movie.” EEAAO breaks barriers on both a technical and narrative level.

      Great to hear from you! I hope all is well across the seas. London is still on my bucket list. We’re expecting another baby in October, so the trip will have to wait…but it’ll happen 🙂 Stay safe and full of movies!

      Like

    1. It’s a roller coaster for sure. There’s never a dull moment. It’s definitely going to be a Top Ten of ’22 for most moviegoers. Hope all is well with you. Busy times over here, but the musical production finally ended. End-of-the-year concerts are next. The semester is certainly rolling…

      Liked by 1 person

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