Everything Everywhere All at Once

Everything Everywhere All at Once ★★★★½

“You’re thinking too much.”

When the present situation becomes too much to bear, it’s tempting to imagine how much better things could be had different choices been made. If only you hadn’t done this, or if only you hadn’t pursued that, perhaps it all wouldn’t be so hard now. Daydreaming in this case offers as much self-imposed shame as it does relief, for missed opportunities hang over you in judgement of what you couldn’t achieve. While Everything Everywhere All at Once follows a wildly imaginative, fantastical journey of multiversal intertwining, it so effectively centers itself on the story of a woman simply trying to achieve her maximum potential. This is not a sci-fi tale of a random person thrust into insanity, but rather, it uses its glorious boundlessness to turn a character’s internal struggle into something cosmic. Here, struggling to accept your daughter’s sexuality and reignite your dwindling marriage can exist on a scale as big as the universe itself.

While I have been put-off by the Daniels’ filmmaking in the past, their maximalist, bold approach to narrative here is a thrilling delight. Every department reaches a magnificent level of their craft, and all of it serves the narrative. The film overall runs long, but nothing feels tangential. Every piece in this densely complicated puzzle fits together, creating an impressively coherent, often emotional experience out of something that so easily could’ve been incomprehensible. Yeoh is a magnetic presence on screen, grounding the audience with her earnestness in the midst of the chaos that surrounds her. It’s all as overwhelming as it is entertaining.

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