Movie Review: Everything Everywhere All At Once


I’d heard great things about Everything Everywhere All At Once, so I was excited to finally watch it. The movie starts off in the realm of reality. Evelyn is a Chinese immigrant who runs a laundromat with her husband, but her husband (Waymond) is filing for divorce. Her daughter (Joy) wants to introduce her non-Chinese girlfriend (Becky) to her grandfather (Evelyn’s father), but Evelyn stops her. The laundromat is also being audited because Evelyn filed her spending on personal items as business expenses. At the tax office, her husband tells her in the elevator that she must journey to an alternate dimension to save the world.

Becky (Tallie Medal) and Joy (Stephanie Hsu)

The film is also humourous with an outlandish level of absurdity like when Waymond uses a fanny pack as a weapon. This sense of humour is playful and works with the optimistic worldview of Everything Everywhere All at Once. This narrative is ultimately all about Evelyn and Joy’s relationship, and the pain that Joy has experienced from her mom forcing her to remain in the closet. But it is also about the love that still remains between them. Everything Everywhere All At Once rejects despair in favor of love and hope. And yes, joy as well.

This film embraces Camus’ Existential Nihilism. That is the idea that there is no inherent meaning to the universe but that this means that we can make our own meaning. Evelyn discovers that what makes her life meaningful, and what makes many of our lives meaningful, is love. And yes, joy as well. This is an incredibly meaningful message in 2022 when many of us are tempted to succumb to believing that we are doomed.

I would recommend Everything Everywhere All at Once because it is truly original. Although in some ways it reminds me of other films like The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (existentially nihilistic sci-fi comedy) and Turning Red (a fantastical film that focuses on the fraught relationship between a Chinese girl/young woman and her mother). It also is very humorous and I enjoyed the message. The visuals in the film are also beautiful, with all the bright colors and brilliant costumes that match the themes of the film.

Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh), protecting her family, Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), and Joy (Stepanie Hsu).

Everything Everywhere All at Once. Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu, James Hong, Anthony Molinari, Jamie Lee Curtis. Dir. Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. 2022. IAC Films, Gobie AGBO, Year of the Rat, Ley Line Entertainment. Available on Amazon Prime Video for rent or purchase.