While time travel existed long before Back To The Future, and undoubtedly many other films existed long after it; that movie is long-held in regard as one of the finest time travel stories. Not because it’s a time travel movie, but because it’s a time travel movie with heart and soul. Marty is struggling to keep his existence alive and tries to get his parents to fall in love. Everything Everywhere All At Once for all it’s trying to do, is essentially doing the same thing.
While we’ve seen Multiverse tales before (Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: No Way Home) they all feel mechanical and cold next to the heartwarming tale of a mother who’s trying to impress her father, keep her husband in love with her, and her daughter from leaving them altogether.
Bizzare And Relatable
While watching this, it did become a hard task to find similar films to this. You could point to Kung-Fu Hustle for its comedy and action, Rick And Morty for its toilet humor and overall multiverse shenanigans, or even The Matrix for how surreal and out of complacency the protagonist is. Ultimately this is a movie that warms your heart, even as you see someone with bizarre fingers spewing out condiments.
‘Bizzare’ is a correct term for this movie. The Daniels previously made Swiss Army Man, and dare I say it, that movie was restrained compared to this one. There are a lot of moments that question sanity, but in-universe there is an explanation for why someone would need to shove a trophy up their rectum — and I bought into it. Yes, it’s stretching the boundaries of logic and good taste, but you know exactly why the protagonist and antagonists do what they do.
A (Multiverse) Heroes Journey
For as bizarre as this movie gets, it’s ultimately about Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) becoming the best version of herself. She faces many personal crises at the beginning of the movie and by the end, you see Evelyn find ways to resolve these issues and ultimately on her own terms. She goes from someone who is a passive participant in her own life, to be a hero who is proud of her own capabilities and ability to resolve issues on her terms.
Evelyn is your hero, and the metaphors for her own hero’s journey are not subtle; nor do they need to be. It’s a simple, and yet, efficient way to grow Evelyn as a character.
A Great Ensemble
The cast for this movie is simply fantastic. You have Michelle Yeoh, who is a great actress in her own right with roles in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Crazy Rich Asians. Ke Huy Quan plays the husband, and if you don’t know him by name, you’ll certainly remember him as a child actor for his roles as Data from The Goonies or Short Round from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The moment he’s on screen you root for him so much, and you want to see him succeed.
Even in smaller roles, you’ll see James Hong (Big Trouble in Little China), Stephanie Hsu (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween), and Jenny Slate (Obvious Child). This cast is full of incredible talent, and regardless of the size of their role, everyone shines in their respective roles.
It may be oversimplistic to say, but Everything Everywhere All At Once simply works. For as bizarre and far-reaching as the film gets. You relate to Evelyn and her family’s story. You relate to her story and desire for more. Even as things get truly bizarre, the film ultimately asks us all to choose kindness. You can roll your eyes at some of the more bizarre scenes, but they’re in service of this very relatable issue and a simple solution. There’s a scene towards the end where Evelyn takes out a group of antagonists using kindness, and it perfectly encapsulates everything that works with this movie and why this reviewer loved it so much.
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