Asian representation in Hollywood is few and far between. But we’re getting better.
I was delighted to hear about The Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All At Once starring Malaysian-Chinese treasure, Michelle Yeoh. Not necessarily just for this legendary actress, who has been kicking ass for literal decades and is someone who I’ve adored since I was a kid. But because Everything Everywhere All At Once is a sci-fi with a mostly Asian cast. Considering that sci-fi is also my favourite genre, there was no way I was not going to see this film.
Everything Everywhere All At Once follows Evelyn Wang, an Asian-American immigrant who went against her father’s wishes to leave her home country to start a new life in America with the one she loves. They open a laundromat, raise a daughter, and we meet Evelyn at a time of her life where the family business is being audited by the IRS. For someone who seems to have all the right things available at her fingertips, Evelyn is lost. When she’s at the tax office and should be concentrating on the situation at hand, Evelyn finds herself slipping into the multiverse.
The film constantly visits the concept of ‘What if?’ via the different multiverses, and if you’ve never thought about the various possibilities of life, the results and consequences depending on your choices and actions, honestly, have you ever really thought at all? This is something that constantly goes through my mind on a weekly basis when I’m left alone with my thoughts, and I love how writers and directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert both understand and study this concept in the film.
Even just thinking about Everything Everywhere All At Once makes me want to sob with joy. I felt very seen with this film. Not just by seeing someone who looks like me on-screen with my Malaysian-Chinese heritage, but the dynamic of Evelyn’s family felt uncanny, right down to Evelyn’s relationship with her father, played by the wonderful James Hong. The conversations she has with her father are some of the most deeply rooted matters I wish I had properly discussed with mine while he was still alive.
The relationship between Evelyn and her husband Waymond Wang, played by the incomparable Ke Huy Quan in his glorious return to Hollywood is truly beautiful, and is both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. The same could be said for Evelyn’s relationship with her daughter Joy, played by the fantastic Stephanie Hsu, with Yeoh and Hsu being in some of my favourite scenes of the film. Harry Shum Jr. is a natural with his comedy whenever he is on-screen. Jamie Lee Curtis is hilariously brilliant and terrifying as Deirdre Beaubeirdra. Last but not least, I must commend both Brian Le and Andy Le as Alpha Jumper – Trophy and Alpha Jumper – Bigger Trophy who provide quality content with some of the best martial arts fight choreography we’ve seen in years.
The cinematography, special effects, make-up, and costuming are also insane. Everything pops, everything looks flawless, everything is a feast for the eyes, and I honestly cannot fault anything about this film. Everything Everywhere All At Once also cleverly makes tributes and references to pop-culture and other iconic films that will leave you both in awe and in stitches.
Despite its 2 hour and 20-minute run time, the film’s narrative is never hard to follow, and it paces itself so well that it doesn’t feel long at all. If anything, I applaud how it kept me attentive from start to finish. I was hanging on the edge of my seat with no idea on what was going to happen next, and I love it when films do that to me. Films where you cannot predict what happens next are honestly the true gems of cinema, this film included.
Everything Everywhere All At Once is a completely original, brave and bold risk-taking sci-fi, action, adventure, drama and romance that is hilarious, wholesome, sincere, and had me feeling every emotion possible. I laughed, I cried, I identified with the characters, I was in pain, and I found happiness. More importantly, by the end of the film, it had my whole heart. My heart is still so full thinking about how phenomenal this film is and how grateful I am for its existence. It’s the best thing I never knew I needed.
Everything Everywhere All At Once is an instant cult classic and an inspiring, life-changing masterpiece that makes me want to go hug my mum, tell my partner that despite his annoying habits – I love him, and I honestly have the strongest desire to go buy a bunch of googly eyes and to stick them on everything, everywhere, all at once.