Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)

The Daniels’ wacky vision of a ‘multiverse’ action-comedy somewhat revels in its outlandish excess, and is blessed with a cast (headlined by a superb Michelle Yeoh) pretty much game to realise it to its fullest potential. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Review #2,575

Dir. Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
2022 | USA | Comedy/Action/Drama | 140 min | 1.85:1 | English, Mandarin & Cantonese
M18 (passed clean) for some violence, sexual material and language

Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu, James Hong, Jamie Lee Curtis
Plot: An ageing Chinese immigrant is swept up in an insane adventure, where she alone can save what’s important to her by connecting with the lives she could have led in other universes.
Awards: Won 7 Oscars – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Leading Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing. Nom. for 4 Oscars – Best Supporting Actress, Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, Best Original Song
International Sales: A24

Accessibility Index
Subject Matter: Moderate – Multiverse; Identity; Family
Narrative Style: Slightly Complex
Pace: Normal
Audience Type: Slightly Mainstream

Viewed: In Theatres – Projector X: Picturehouse
Spoilers: No

It was inevitable that I had to jump onto the ‘EEAAO’ bandwagon at some point, albeit very belatedly, and while it will take about a decade for anyone to be able to ascertain whether the Daniels’ new film could be considered a (mainstream) ‘cult’ film, its instant impact on audiences globally has been nothing short of sensational. 

It builds upon the progressive narrative of Asian-American representation on the big screen, while locating it in a genre (or a wild hybrid of genres) that might, in another era, be considered ridiculous low art. 

But as identities become more fragmented, Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert have, in some way, captured the zeitgeist of existing in a fractured world of fluid cultural flows. 

With the requisite filmmaking chops and a pretty game cast (headlined by a superb Michelle Yeoh and a solid supporting entourage) to realise the wacky vision to its fullest potential, Everything Everywhere All at Once becomes a conduit for expressing the desire (particularly by minority groups) to transcend their deterministic present into a potential future of ‘futures’. 

“I cannot be the worst. What about that hotdog one?”

This is, of course, marked by the film’s undergirding concept of the ‘multiverse’ and its infinite possibilities for transformation.  Yeoh’s Evelyn, utterly nondescript in real life, finds herself becoming a sought-after figure with the potential to save the world. 

But the film is not really about saving the world (that reductionistic thinking is relegated to the realm of, say, recursive Marvel ‘multiverse’ movies); instead, it is about the transformation of the self and the implications it has for identity, love and family. 

So, thought-provoking high art it might be, packaged as an entertaining if occasionally transgressive action-comedy that also has room for both camp and melodrama. 

Its outlandish excess may sometimes mean the film does sometimes overstay its welcome or feel too ungrounded, though describing it as ‘exhausting’ or ‘unrealistic’ may be too harsh when it is rather fun to watch.    

Grade: B+




  1. I gave it all of 30 minutes, and it exhausted me. Wish I could have gotten past the assault of the over-stimulation to where the stronger among us, like yourself, found the inspiring parts. Maybe some day…

    Liked by 1 person


  2. OK, so I took Dr Tan’s antidote, in full, and it was an interesting – though pretty exhausting – experience. I’m thankful for your encouragement.
    The film’s message – albeit perhaps a little thickly applied – of seeing a bigger, more loving picture and choosing one’s life with all its warts and prickles is a timeless one, and I am happy that it is obviously falling on many receptive ears and eyes.

    Liked by 1 person


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