The latest film from director Lulu Wang, Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, stars Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn Wang, a weary laundromat owner under IRS audit. The film follows her as she deals with the audit, her visiting father (James Hong), and her family’s struggle to keep their relationship together.
Everything Everywhere all at Once is a film that combines the weirdly bizarre and the poignantly relatable to tell a story that will leave an impression. This movie, written and directed by Team Daniels (also known as Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), follows the story of Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) and her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) as they traverse a range of alternative worlds, from not-so-different to truly batshit crazy.
Yeoh’s performance in this film is truly a tour de force. We first meet Evelyn in a happy moment with her husband, Waymond Wang (Ke Huy Quan) and daughter Joy, reflected in a mirror on their living room wall. As the camera zooms through the mirror, her smile fades, and we see her seated at a table awash with business receipts. Through a series of events, we see Evelyn struggle to keep her family together and her business afloat.
The film takes a unique turn when Evelyn meets another version of her husband from what he calls the Alpha verse. Here, humans have learned to “verse jump” and are threatened by an omniverse agent of chaos known as Jobu Tupaki. Evelyn is thrust into a universe-hopping adventure that has her questioning her life, her failures, and her love for her family. From battling the IRS auditor, (Jamie Lee Curtis) to battling Jabo Tupaki, Evelyn manages to adapt to the crazy things that are happening.
The film is filled with action and surreal moments that will leave you in awe, but at its heart, Everything Everywhere all at Once is a character piece. It explores the intergenerational miscommunication, resentment, guilt, fear, failure, and regret that are part of family life. It magnifies these feelings in a way that feels both realistic and fantastical. Yeoh and Hsu give stellar performances, conveying both the child’s painful search for identity and meaning and the parent’s bewildered anxiety around losing control and cultural transformation.
Overall, Everything Everywhere all at Once is an ambitious film that blends the bizarre and the relatable in a way that is sure to leave an impression. It will make you laugh, cry, and everything in between, and it’s definitely worth a watch.