Everything Everywhere All At Once: Review

Thomas Gravely (he/him), Staff Writer

At the 2023 Oscars, Everything Everywhere All At Once took home an astounding seven Academy Awards, making it the most-awarded movie of all time. But is it worth the hype, or is it just another overrated blockbuster?

Everything Everywhere All At Once follows Evelyn Wang, played by Michelle Yeoh, a Chinese immigrant mother and owner of a laundromat threatened by an audit. Things get weird for her when her husband Waymond gives her some strange instructions at the tax office that result in her becoming a version of herself from a parallel universe. The rest of the film follows Evelyn as she meets other versions of herself living different lives she could have lived and the overwhelming feeling of emptiness it brings.

The most notable part about the movie is the sheer absurdity and breakneck pacing of it. On your first viewing, you’ll feel like you have no idea what’s going on. This caused some viewers to leave with a negative impression, feeling that the film was overstimulating and unnecessarily confusing. However, its over-the-top essence is part of what makes the movie so intriguing; you should feel like you’re along for the ride, even if you can’t wrap your head around it completely on your first viewing.

This aspect of it also allows for the expression of some of the most creative ideas in filmmaking in a long time. The parallel universe plot allows for a huge number of possibilities, which directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert take full advantage of. From hot dog fingers to a universe where the main characters are rocks, the beautiful weirdness of the movie is a breath of fresh air in a plot that would normally be cliché.

It would be impossible to talk about EEAAO without mentioning the acting. Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn and Stephanie Hsu as Joy, in particular, bring their characters to life. The actresses portray a loving but rocky mother-daughter relationship that you can’t help but get invested in, as they struggle with a heartbreakingly realistic depiction of generational trauma. While Yeoh nails the emotional scenes, the amount of stunts the 60-year-old performs with no former martial arts training alone is enough to justify her winning Best Actress. Ke Huy Quan also delivers an amazingly endearing performance as Waymond, making his climactic scenes all the more emotional.

While the acting is a highlight, the other significant elements of the film shouldn’t be forgotten. Despite being made by just a small team with an even smaller budget, EEAAO has fantastic cinematography, fast-paced editing, blockbuster-level visual effects, and a beautiful original score that contribute to an immersive experience that helps you to feel all the emotions the characters are feeling. To coincide with the movie’s absurdity, these elements are utilized in unique ways that both accommodate the small budget and contribute to the movie’s originality.

But what cements Everything Everywhere All At Once as a classic and makes it Oscar-worthy is its unflinching portrayal of how it feels to be alive right now. At its core, EEAAO is a movie about nihilism and how to find meaning in life when every possible life you could live seems so unimportant, considering the sheer scale of the multiverse. EEAOO manages to display not just the hopelessness of infinity, but how to cope with it and find meaning in life through our connections with our loved ones.

Some have also theorized that the maximalism of the movie is a portrayal of the overwhelming amount of content and information on the internet, and how we’re constantly surrounded by it. This contributes to the movie’s portrayal of nihilism; now that we know everything, everywhere, all the time, why does it matter when the universe is as big as it is? With the rawness of these themes and the fantastic emotional performance, it would not be an exaggeration to call this movie life-changing.

EEAAO is a wild ride of a film. In its two hours and 19 minutes runtime, you’ll experience every emotion on the human spectrum. Its awards were completely justified, and if you haven’t already seen it, I could not recommend it more.


Verdict: 10/10