Escape Velocity

A curated Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction Media

Evelyn Quan Wang is a tired Chinese American trying to run a shabby laundromat with her husband Waymond. Nothing is easy: Evelyn's marriage is in shambles, and so is her relationship with her daughter. When the business is audited by the IRS, Evelyn is suddenly thrust into an adventure beyond her wildest imagination.

Robin recommended this movie even before it was winning all the Oscars (giving credit where it is due). I did not know what to expect, and I’ll admit that even know I’m struggling with how to appraise it. A part of me is surprised it has won so many Oscars, even more than The Return of the King, a movie I love with all of my heart. On the other hand, it makes little sense to compare two movies that are so different from eachother, using something as arbitrary as the amount of awards they’ve won. As it happens, simply looking at the production value and the performance of the actors of Everything Everywhere All At Once, I completely understand why it has done so well.

Lotte is right in saying that this movie is silly. There is a lot of whimsy going around, practically in every scene. Things that made me laugh out loud (such as Raccacoonie and the scene in which two characters are rocks), but also things that I personally experienced as body horror (sausage fingers…). The characters (and actors) manage to tread a fine line by delivering and reacting to this silliness while at the same time telling a story with heartfelt themes.

In a setting in which literally everything is possible and multiple universes exist at the same time, keeping track of subplots (and different versions of the same characters) is quite a feat. However, Everything Everywhere All At Once did this really well. I certainly respect the amount of puzzling the writers must have done to make that possible.

Three stars might seem a somewhat meager amount with the mostly positive attitude I’ve shown this far. I can simply explain this by saying that, despite the overall quality, there were also a few things that would prevent me from rewatching this movie. The sausage fingers are certainly a factor in this, but also the various action scenes that failed to keep my attention. Additionally, not all of the earlier mentioned themes of the story hit their emotional mark for me. The value of kindness in the face of nihilism (as demonstrated through the character of Waymond Wang) is certainly a winner, and a much needed lesson in these dark times we are currently living in. The subject of generational trauma, however, has been handled better by other stories I’ve recently consumed.

Should you watch this movie? I think you should, simply because it is one-of-a-kind. But I’ll understand if you’re left with difficult emotions afterwards.

I’d heard a lot about this movie and finally sat down to watch it after Jasmijn told me it was on Amazon Prime. I went in relatively blind. I’d heard it was great and that it was strange. I also knew it was about parallel universes.

The absolute first thing I thought when watching this movie is that Deidre reminded me SO much of Chris Fleming’s Sick Jan. So much so that I felt the instant need to google if anyone else had seen the similarity. They had.

I found the start of the movie relatively hard to get through, mostly because it was bilingual and Prime Video only offers Dutch or French subtitles. It’s very confusing when you understand half of the spoken text but have to look at the subtitles anyway, because you need them for the sentences that you don’t understand. English subtitles would have made it easier, but that’s an Amazon issue because Amazon is the worst.

As far as the plot was concerned, I really enjoyed it. I love movies that take themselves seriously and not seriously at the same time. You can do something worthy of recognition and respect that is simultaneously silly, and I love that Everything Everywhere All at Once proved that. It’s a very action/adventure-based movie, but in the end, it’s all about the heart of the characters. I am not joking when I say I would take a bullet for Waymond Wang.

You should watch this movie! Unless you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like things that are a little silly, because this movie is very silly.

Robin recommended this movie before it was cool to recommend it, but then I didn’t watch it until way after it became cool to recommend it – and so we’re posting this review way too late because I’m a slow dumb-dumb. We could’ve totally pre-empted the hype or jumped on the bandwagon, and now we’ve done neither. The algorithm will undoubtedly punish us for my tardiness.

So, with that out of the way, what did I think?

Everything Everywhere All At Once is a tough movie to review because it is such an idiosyncratic experience that it is difficult to find parallels with other media. I feel something like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy probably comes closest if you look at it from the perspective of plot and style of storytelling (and of course, the similar concept of the infinite improbability drive). At the same time, though, Everything Everywhere All At Once has a level of depth and emotional maturity beneath the surface of surreal comedy that you wouldn’t normally associate with this type of story. ****Wait. Is there even a ‘this type of story’?

I really enjoyed Everything Everywhere All At Once. I think the movie’s most remarkable feat is its ability to relatively seamlessly switch back and forth between, and even mix, family drama moments, absolutely bonkers sci-fi comedy, and eastern martial arts. The juxtaposition and intermingling of these styles is in no way as jarring as you would expect. Instead, I felt pulled in further every time the story tilted, and as if by miracle, my suspension of disbelief never broke – not even when two stones with googly eyes held a serious emotional conversation or characters attempted to do the weirdest thing imaginable in the middle of an overwhelming action sequence in order to trigger a dimensional jump (Yes. Don’t ask).

I love that the movie received recognition from serious critics, who might have easily run roughshod over an over-the-top silly fest such as this. It shows Hollywood is perhaps more open-minded than I thought, and hopefully it will encourage others to try something out of the box.

If you go in with an open mind, can stand an overdose of the surreal, and won’t worry about it all making sense too much, I think Everything Everywhere All At Once is a brilliant way to spend an evening!

Share this post: