Review | ‘Everything, Everywhere All At Once’ is another A24 classic


AGBO Production Company Media Kit

From left, Stephanie Hsu plays Joy Wang, Michelle Yeoh plays Evelyn Quan Wang and Ke Huy Quan plays Waymond Wang in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

By Serena Garcia, For The Pitt News

Everything, Everywhere All At Once is the perfect combination of thriller, comedy, a lot of magic and a little bit of romance.

Or that’s a simple way to put it. There’s no complete way to describe the film without going on numerous tangents that describe all the different features of the film. If I were to try, we might be here for a long time.

After initially having a limited release on March 25th, the film experienced a nationwide release on April 8th. Since the release, it received a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and earned $61.1 million at the box office. The film’s release also came at a perfect time for viewers to pay homage to Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month. The film includes a star-studded cast with almost, if not all, AAPI actors such as Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, James Hong and Harry Shum Jr. Jamie Lee Curtis and Jenny Slate also star in the film. 

Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, also known as The Daniels, the film surrounds protagonist Evelyn Wong (Yeoh). Evelyn, a Chinese immigrant, finds herself in a mundane life where she is in the middle of an audit for her failing laundromat. Dealing with the stress of her father Gong Gong’s (Hong) deteriorating health, her failing relationships with her husband, Waymond (Quan) and daughter Joy (Hsu), and worries about her business, Evelyn finds her life crumbling. Once she enters her appointment, however, her whole life will be turned upside down. Not only is she now in charge of the fate of her own world, but the fate of all other universes as well. 

The 2 hour and 20 minute film is broken into three parts — “Everything,” “Everywhere,” and the final being “All at Once.” 

The first part throws viewers into the day of Evelyn’s audit appointment. Evelyn is left to worry about planning a surprise party for her father and Lunar New Year, handling her failing business and figuring out a way to tell her father about her daughter’s sexuality. Unbeknownst to Evelyn, Waymond is also planning on handing her divorce papers. With all the chaos brewing, viewers see the stress that Evelyn is going through, and on top of it, she now has to worry about getting her business receipts together for the audit. 

Without her daughter acting as her translator, Evelyn goes to the appointment with her father and husband. Entering the elevator to the appointment, everything seems normal. Treats in hand, papers together and anxiety high, the trio are ready to meet the auditor, Deirdre Beaubeirdre (Curtis). When the elevator ride starts, however, the real fun begins. Once the ride begins, something in Waymond changes, and he informs Evelyn that he needs her help. 

This Waymond isn’t her actual Waymond, but instead Waymond from a completely different universe, the Alpha-Verse, where he is known as “Alpha Waymond”. This Waymond introduces her to the multiverse. 

Shocking not only to Evelyn but the audience as well, Waymond instructs her to go to the janitor’s closet to learn more about her role in the multiverse. Shoving two ear pieces on her head, scribbling on the back of his divorce papers and persuading Evelyn to believe him, Alpha Waymond is transported back to his universe and regular Waymond returns. It seems confusing, but the transitions are executed so well that they are easily followed.

Following Alpha Waymond’s written instructions, Evelyn experiences her first “verse jump” leaving her distracted from the audit appointment. Pairing that with their already bad paperwork, the audit appointment turns south. Fortunately, Waymond is able to convince Deidre to give the family a second chance. But all hell breaks loose when Evelyn decides to punch Deidre in the face after mistaking her for a different Deidre from another universe. 

“Verse jumping” becomes a common term throughout the movie as each new weird action Evelyn does unlocks a new skill from another universe. For instance, Waymond’s first fight scene begins after he eats chapstick right from the tube. After the action, Waymond jumps to another universe where he has kung fu skills. That is where all the magic really comes in. 

Throughout the film, Joy, Evelyn and Waymond complete their own verse jumps to unlock a skill that will help them in battle. You can learn more about “verse jumping” and the mechanics of multiverse here.

Using Yeoh’s martial arts background, the film capitalizes off her fighting skill and creates a ton of amazing fight scenes. The action does not disappoint as each character gets their own fight sequences. Alpha Waymond kicks the action off, with Evelyn soon to follow and Joy’s alter-ego in other universes, Jobu Tupaki, brings a ton of action as well. The fight scenes were refreshing, something a little different from previous action films I had seen. Focusing on martial arts and kung fu, the scenes keep the audience engaged and wanting to see more.

The length of the film may seem intimidating, but with all of the action and comedy packed into each scene, I never found myself getting bored. The comedic relief is stellar. One scene depicts two grown men trying to put various objects in their butts to enable a special kung fu power. In another scene Joy, who is known as Jobu Tupaki, beats a man nearly to death wielding two dildos. And I can’t forget the scenes that show Evelyn living in another universe where people live with hotdogs for fingers! 

There were a few times where I found myself questioning what exactly I was watching. Why exactly was Jobu Tupaki chasing after Evelyn? What was her end goal, or what was she hoping to achieve?

Part two is where the meaning of the film came in, or at least some explanation. Part two dives into the relationships that Evelyn has with her family. She is still trying to earn her father’s approval after leaving China to be with Waymond. And she continues to ruin her relationship with Waymond, finally taking action and deciding to sign the divorce papers. 

Most importantly, the film shifts focus on Joy, or Jobu Tupaki, and Evelyn’s relationship. Having become just like Jobu Tupaki in hopes to save Joy, Evelyn begins to experience all of the different universes alongside Jobu. Jobu calls it the “everything bagel,” a way to escape the pain from each universe. Her main goal was to get Evelyn to experience the same feelings as her. But it’s revealed that ultimately she just wants her mother to tell her to stay. 

 The Daniels do a great job exploring a mother and daughter relationship that, like all, have their own cracks and flaws. All Joy wants is for her mother to be there with her and understand her. Evelyn, as seen throughout the film, wants to protect her daughter, yet they can never seem to be on the same page. 

Joy yearns to be accepted by her mother, especially in terms of her sexuality and relationship with her girlfriend, Becky. Evelyn has the perfect chance to do this, but when the time comes to introduce Becky to Gong Gong, all Evelyn says is that she is Joy’s “good friend.” 

In part three, Evelyn and Joy finally come to an understanding, and share the desire that they both don’t want to be let go. Evelyn is still that little girl that longs for her father’s approval, and Joy just wants her mother to convince her to stay. Joy has been running away from the pain that each different universe brings, hoping to finally succeed in feeling nothing. 

Part three concludes the film by showing viewers the different endings of the story throughout the multiverse. Each different universe shows Evelyn happy and finally enjoying her life. We get to see everything, everywhere all at once in each universe. 

The film is nothing like any previous movies I’ve seen, nor is it similar to any other A24 films I’ve watched. The production company has produced some of the best horror and thriller movies combined such as “Midsommar” and “Hereditary.” And this film proved to be another one to add to the list. 

The film’s concept was interesting, one that many films are beginning to explore. It exceeded my expectations and intrigued me to discover more science fiction films, and to keep an eye out for more films directed by The Daniels. If you haven’t seen the film yet, be sure to do so — you definitely will not regret it.