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Everything Everywhere All at Once

A multitude of verses

Using the statement that a film feels like "there's a lot to unpack there" must be the understatement of the year for Everything Everywhere All at Once—and yet there is an undeniable truth in it. A film that proclaims to give you literally everything, everywhere and that all at once to boot seems ripe for requiring multiple viewings and I'd say that absolutely rings true in order to fully appreciate all the insane levels of detail-oriented, blink-and-you'll-miss-it craftsmanship on display here.

Written by


Sep 29, 2022

© Leonine

If nothing matters because every thing and every version and variation of every event exists somewhere, then why should we care about what we're experiencing right here in our own universe? That is the question that the two Daniels keep carving out of their storyline and keep bringing to the forefront of their film with every scene upon scene upon scene. There are pretty much all genres, all moods and all narrative styles on display here. A song sung in a multitude of verses and, nevertheless, it probably only scratches the surface of the infinite possibilities of existence out there.

Still, for all its grandeur and flamboyant exuberance so loudly on display, Everything Everywhere All at Once eventually also finds the inevitable quieter notes and manages to play them quite beautifully in a way that speaks to the audience, laughing along one minute and pensively silent the next when being prompted to reflect on their place in this world and their very existence as individuals but also on the human species as a whole.

While many people who have been to space tell us they experienced an unprecedented admiration for this our very planet from all the way up there, there are people down here as well who ask us to take up a "cosmic perspective" as Neil deGrasse Tyson puts it and, where if not in the darkened room we share with strangers to watch films, could we attempt to achieve such a perspective by becoming spectators, listeners, by being asked to take in and ponder images and sounds from different minds and different thinkers?

Cinema has a power to show us worlds that could be and worlds that shouldn't be and it can help us reconcile ourselves with the one we're in without feeling overwhelmed by resignation if the negative aspects prevail in it. I feel like the Daniels are trying to give us a message of positivity here that feels inspirational but generic enough to frame it all as a film about coming to terms with the status quo but keeping a positive outlook regardless and I'm always a sucker for heartfelt sincerity of which there is lots here—thanks to Ke Huy Quan in particular. Turns out he didn't grow up to be a new Indy after all but rather a new Jackie Chan, so genuinely funny are his humorous scenes here and so impressive are his fighting skills.

© Leonine

“If nothing matters, then all the pain and guilt you feel for making nothing of your life goes away”

Jobu Tupaki played by Stephanie Hsu

Alternate takes

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