I finally got around watching this after having read quite a lot of positive press about it. I must admit that I am not a huge fan of our very own Malaysian superstar Michelle Yeoh’s films, so I approached this with some trepidation. Fortunately, my conviction was proven wrong once more. From beginning to end, Everything Everywhere All At Once is a joy to watch.
It has an unusual and engaging plot, even though it toyed around with the recently often-referenced term of “multiverse” which is frankly done to death in those insipid Marvel movies. Michelle Yeoh plays Evelyn, an ordinary aging Chinese immigrant who is struggling to maintain a balance in her hectic life. She has relation issues with practically her entire family members, and on top of that, have to deal with the bureaucracy of a tax audit on her family laundry business. This is introduced to us at breakneck speed and we have to keep up with what’s happening while the movie juggles with multiple languages (Mandarin, Cantonese and English). Evelyn soon finds herself in the middle something even more unsettling when she gets swept into an adventure that involves her jumping between multiple versions of herself, and the burden of having to save the world in the process.
Michelle Yeoh excels in this demanding performance, mixing up her varied persona from her numerous previous incarnations in a matter of seconds. She finds the time in between to exhibit a fantastic sense of humour, which she not only displays physically but also communicates through the nuanced tones of her verbal emotions. The martial arts action here is a bonus, and the slapstick humour makes me nostalgic for the fun comic kung fu movies used to be, especially in Jackie Chan’s heyday.
Michelle Yeoh is matched by an equally admirable supporting act in the form of Ke Huy Quan. Those of us who are Indiana Jones fans, will fondly remember a very young and cheeky Ke Huy Quan who was the side kick to Indiana Jones in his adventure in The Temple of Doom. Apparently, Ke had not acted in any movies since, which makes his performance here even more remarkable as he demonstrates such a high level of acting (and kung fu) skills. He still has that mischievous smug and cheekiness which gives his character, Evelyn’s accommodating and understanding husband, depth and intrigue.
Halloween scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis has a great time in her supporting role here as well. Although her role was not as meaty as Ke Huy Quan’s, she nevertheless still manages to make her presence felt each time she appears and shows us what a delightful comic performer she can be when not being chased around by a mass murderer.
The movie’s theme of fostering love, understanding and being kind to one another is an admirable one. However, this felt a bit forced and repetitive especially in the rather long-winded ending. After the proceeding head spinning antics, this finale came across as quite predictable. However, the excursion was definitely worthwhile. Everything Everywhere All At Once, is the brainchild of the writer, director team made up of Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. In this film, the amount of crazy ideas and imagination is really on display, and I for one, look forward to see what the “Daniels” will come up with next in the future.