jack’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Daniels’ creativity is undeniable. While I am incredibly adamant on Swiss Army Man being completely unearning of its gags (and ultimately not really about anything – I should revisit), Everything Everywhere All at Once is totally deserving of their insane understanding of visual language. Not everything really sticks – some of the jokes and visuals gags feel, at times, a bit too sophomoric and empty (meaning that they only exist for the shock factor without any sort of depth as to why they exist) and annoying – but even I, a true curmudgeon, cannot deny how impressed I am in how this thing utilizes its visual language.
The Multiverse concept is at an all-time high due to a certain franchise that shall not be named but this is probably one of the better examples in how to execute a pretty obnoxiously large idea in a relatively small scale for everyone to really comprehend – in part, this is why I think the praise for the film is overly massive; I don’t really think the Daniels pander down to anyone watching the film, and I think there is a sense of legitimacy that is explored in their concept to the point that anyone watching the film can dissect. It's a pretty universal film in that regard, and even those who hate the film cannot deny what the Daniels’ goal is. Or at least an attempt made to complete the goal.
There's a lot going on in the film and the Daniels understand that. Everything Everywhere All at Once is broken up into four segments: an unnamed prologue that establishes the characters and their existence within the space that they occupy (and for me, maybe the strongest part of the film – at least on this viewing), the “Everything” chapter that explores Evelyn’s understanding of the concepts being thrown at her, the “Everywhere” chapter that breaks down the anxiety in knowing the vastness of the universe(s), and the “All at Once” epilogue that resolves each chapter’s revelations; the structure is pretty jumbled and at times, I think the chapter structure doesn’t come together as nicely as it should, but it does stick the landing.
Everyone in this film, no matter how small or large the role, is doing some immaculate acting, but the two standouts are Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan – this isn’t that surprising because the overwhelming praise for both performances is substantial. Yeoh’s tapping into so many different things with her performance: the inability to overcome her past, the regrets she has in coming to America with her husband, the frustrations in not understanding her daughter’s lifestyle, the slow realization that she’s becoming her father. She can just be as bitter as he is and she is while Quan embraces the tenderness of life and chooses to display compassion and hope and love in every way possible; as someone who struggles to see the light, I cannot lie and say I didn’t get swept up in the final minutes of the film – in a way, I felt hope in realizing that maybe one day, my own pessimism would vanish.
I'm in the majority with this being quite good, but I think I need another watch to solidify my true feelings on the film because I'm not entirely sold on the “best movie ever” energy the internet has been proclaiming. But hey, let’s get Yeoh and Quan to the Oscars because those kids deserve the world. And the Wong Kar-wai homage ignited a fuel in me to revisit his work – another win for Wong.