“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is a queer film, a domestic drama and a ‘“Matrix”-inspired take on the theory that we live in just one of millions of possible parallel universes. Each universe contains a different version of ourselves, and each is based on the innumerable decisions that we have made since we first developed an understanding that those decisions have consequences.
Jamie Lee Curtis
Michelle Yeoh is Evelyn Wang, a Chinese American woman who runs a struggling laundromat with her husband, Waymond (Ke Huy Quan). The IRS, because of Evelyn’s incorrect filing of their taxes, is auditing them. The auditor, Deirdre, is played by a deliciously frumpy Jamie Lee Curtis who has a reputation of hanging on to her victims like a pit-bull until she acquires her pound of flesh. But Evelyn’s world is filled with multiple sadness. Waymond wants to divorce her, Gong Gong (Cantonese: “grandfather”), has just arrived from China; and Evelyn’s daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) has been trying to get Evelyn to accept her girlfriend, Becky (Tallie Medel)
Of all Evelyn’s, in all the parallel universes, our “Laundromat Evelyn” has made the worst decisions in life. Forced by Waymond to leave China, she left behind a promising career as a dancer. So, when the parallel universes start to collide, thanks to the machinations of daughter Joy’s parallel evil twin Jobi Tupaki, it is our Evelyn who is chosen to save our universe from obliteration. The reasoning is a bit convoluted, but it goes something like this: Evelyn’s mind so devoid of ideas that she has the greatest potential for growth and thus the greatest prospect of transforming into a superhero.
Remember how good Yeoh was in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”? This is a similar tongue-in-cheek, highly physical yet surprisingly touching performance. Directed by the film-making duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (collectively known as “Daniels”), whose only previous offering was 2016s notorious “farting corpse” movie “Swiss Army Man” with Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe, they have weaved into their hyperactive plot such influences as authors Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams in addition to the work of directors Ang Lee and Zhang Yimou. That you can see and appreciate their dense forest of a movie in addition to each individual tree, is a testament to both their talent and imagination. The fact that they can direct and choreograph a mean fight sequence doesn’t hurt either. Cheers!