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SXSW Review: Everything Everywhere All at Once

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It has been a long time since I’ve left a movie sore from laughing too much. Right off the bat, that’s one of the biggest endorsements I can give The Daniels’ latest film, Everything Everywhere All at Once. 

On IMDb, it’s currently lacking any defined genre. And while that’s because it has yet to be properly released, it’s also fitting. Everything Everywhere All at Once defies genres. Is it a cop-out to say that its title fits? Maybe so, but there’s truth to it. This isn’t just a comedy, drama, action, sci-fi, fantasy, animated, foreign, romance, or parody film. It’s everything …all at once.

But in its simplest terms — and it’s worth not knowing much about this film’s details — it’s a pioneering genre film: an epic comedy. Sure, that genre exists in some form but not to the extent that the Daniels (directors and writers Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) have illustrated here in this multiversal exploration of their own design. (Side note: Get ready for the comparisons to Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness to come later this year).

For as narratively ambitious as Everything Everywhere All at Once is, it’s equally visually compelling and works in tandem with the story to truly represent the details and consequences of its characters life choices, all while maintaining gorgeous, inventive, entertaining moments. And just as a brief teaser for what this universe gifts the world, there’s a Ratatouille-inspired raccoon voiced by Randy Newman, people with hotdog fingers, and a world where the characters are just rocks. 

Should that all work? Probably not. And certainly not when taken at face value. But that’s where Everything Everywhere All at Once excels. It truly understands its characters to the extent that it even incorporates star Michelle Yeoh’s own celebrity as a minor plot point, connecting this world to our very own.

Yeoh certainly proves here why she is an international treasure as well, jumping from genre to genre with ease. Her comedic timing is impeccable, and her action chops are as good as ever. But she’s only magnified by an on-point supporting cast with Stephanie Hsu, James Hong, and Jamie Lee Curtis. However, every scene he’s in is stolen by Ke Huy Quan. If you’re wondering who that is, he’s the actor that inexplicably disappeared from acting after iconic turns as Short Round in Indiana Jones and Data from The Goonies. He’s an absolute showstopper; a true pleasure to see him return.

Things may get a little messy and longwinded because of the very nature of the film’s story, but with so many things going right, the momentum somehow lasts until the credits roll. Certainly one of the most entertaining films of the year, Everything Everywhere earns its name, full stop.

Overall Grade: 9 out of 10

Everything Everywhere All At Once premieres in theaters across the U.S. on March 25, 2022.


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