Sheri’s Spotlight: Everything Everywhere All At Once
*Spoiler Free Review of Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022)*
The world we live in, especially these days, is weird and quirky and unpredictable. Directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan (known professionally as the Daniels) have managed to create a film that’s even wilder and stranger than real life, and it serves a great comfort in these unhinged times. Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022) is a family dramedy that follows an aging Chinese immigrant (Michelle Yeoh) as she’s unwillingly tasked with saving the multiverse from total destruction. Believe it or not, it’s stranger than it sounds.
If their feature length debut Swiss Army Man (2016) is any indication, the Daniels are no strangers to the bizarre and unusual. However, with Everything Everywhere they went all in; it’s even weirder, even funnier, and has even more heart. Everything Everywhere is completely unapologetic in its weirdness, and that’s what makes it even more human and more powerful. To put it plainly, this film blew my mind. I’m still collecting my thoughts about it and all it tackles. There’s just so much here to work with and the directors, cast and crew do a phenomenal job. Everything Everywhere All At Once lives up to its name, because it’s not just funny it’s also extremely heartfelt and warm. It’s not just weird for the fun of it, all the absurdity and strangeness is distinctly rooted in the human experience. It’s not just an immigrant story, or just about generational trauma, or just about mother-daughter relationships, or just about self-acceptance and love, or just about wasted potential, or just about living life to the fullest. It’s everything. It’s everywhere. It’s all at once. And holy cow is it brilliant.
Michelle Yeoh is at her best in this film. She rarely gets to play comedic roles, at least in American cinema, so seeing her bust out her comedy chops was an exciting surprise. One moment she makes you laugh out loud and the next you’re holding back tears, she’s stunning. Yet, I must say that Stephanie Hsu is the heart of this film. I’ve been a huge fan of hers for years (she got her start in Broadway shows like The SpongeBob Musical and Be More Chill), so I was excited from the very first trailer to see her in such a huge film. Unsurprisingly, she met all of my expectations and more. She’s hilarious, charismatic, confident, hypnotizing and perfectly captures all the nuances and quirks of her character. She’s an absolute delight and I can’t wait for the world to witness her talent. While those 2 are standouts, there’s honestly not a single weak link in this ensemble. Ke Huy Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis and James Hong are all captivating on-screen and hold their own. Even Harry Shum Jr. and Jenny Slate, who have smaller roles in the film, make the most of their screen time.
Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh, and Ke Huy Quan via The New York Times
Everything Everywhere feels distinctly like a film written and directed by weirdos for all the weirdos in the world. There’s so much heart and soul that the Daniels bring to this film. With all the topics this movie grapples with, it could easily be overstuffed and messy, but it’s not. It’s a warm hug and a guiding hand as it takes you on a journey like no other.