Another awesome guest review from artist & friend of the L&D Report, the ever-esteemed, Joanna K. Dane.
What a delight to see at the theater, a movie as odd and daring as Everything, Everywhere, All at Once!
First, there’s Evelyn, played by Michelle Yeoh, a woman caught in a mid-life rut of hard work, high expectations, and daily proof that her husband is silly and useless; her daughter, endlessly difficult. How did she turn out to be such an ordinary woman, washing other people’s clothes, after so many big dreams? A failure, just like her father says.
Here she is at the dining room table, worrying over stacks of receipts. Not only is their struggling laundromat being audited by the IRS, but Evelyn’s father is visiting from China, and her daughter has just arrived home from college with her new girlfriend.
Evelyn needs to focus, but she has a spitting headache and keeps getting distracted by very odd visions.
Haha! It’s Jamie Lee Curtis playing the evil tax auditor who wears orange polyester suits that highlight her belly fat.
Evelyn’s husband, Waymond, played by Ke Huy Quan is mousy and silly and sweet. In this universe. But in another, the universe where they didn’t get married, but went their separate ways, he is suave and rich and charming.
But Evelyn’s journey is so much more than a marriage story. There’s the universe where she is a chef with a chef who wears a raccoon under his hat. There’s a universe where she is a kung fu master. A universe where she is traffic cop. A universe where she is a maid for a sleaze bag who’s into S&M, a universe where people have giant hotdogs for fingers and Evelyn and the tax auditor are lovers. And her favorite universe, where she is a world famous singer.
It’s a mother/daughter story and a father/daughter story, and a story that blurs the line between dream and reality, between failure and success. It is a kung fu story and a story about the nature of our minds. It’s a movie that breathes and dances and pulses with life. A dazzling feat of editing and sound.
And there’s the realization that Nothing Matters. And the black hole that’s shaped like an everything bagel. And the fanny pack kung fu scene in the IRS office. And the dazzling costumes worn by Stephanie Hsu playing Evelyn and Waymond’s daughter Joy, who, it turns out, is also the villain of the multiverse.
And the line, “I would have loved to have spent a life with you doing laundry and taxes.”
And there’s the long silent scene where mother and daughter are rocks in a lifeless universe.
A scene so long, you start to wonder, is it going to end like this?