“Everything Everywhere All at Once” shows its audience how to fight with love
Everything everywhere all at once is undoubtedly a masterpiece. Writers and directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert have gone from simple silliness and muddled musings on love in Swiss army man make viewers feel everyone friendliness.
Although splendid in all areas, it is the director and actor relationship that gives meaning to this film.
While the written word is certainly powerful, and that trait can be the key to successful drama, the beauty of this film lies in its quietest moments of observation.
Kwan and Scheinert, alongside Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu and James Hong, bring together a perfect example of the practice of showing rather than telling the public.
Yeoh plays Evelyn Wang, an overworked householder whose bitterness is inspired by her perception of being made up of her failures. She’s just on the horizon of encountering her biggest failures yet, both financially and family-wise.
This impending failure is interrupted by a multiverse-traveling Quan, who plays Evelyn’s husband, Waymond Wang. Yeoh and Quan complement each other as opposites, with Quan being the dimwitted father figure, countering Yeoh’s brashness.
Stephanie Hsu plays Joy Wang, the couple’s daughter. Hsu doubles as the story’s main antagonist, Jobu Tupaki. Joy and her grandfather, Gong Gong, work on opposite ends of Evelyn’s desire to maintain a relationship with both of them, to further shatter her life.
The film ultimately resolves with the mending of the fractured relationships between Evelyn, her father, and her daughter. The emotional payoff is the sweetest, though, with characters who, for the sake of the main story arc, are meant to be more tertiary like Waymond’s Deirdre Beaubeirdra and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Much of Evelyn’s behavior towards Waymond is mean, even before she is presented with Waymond’s desire to end their marriage, leaving the viewer with questions about the couple’s relationship that will be answered later. .
The center of the film hits and Waymond, in a few words, begs his wife and adversaries to stop their newly discovered knack for violence. He assures the fighters that he understands their dismay and fear, but he is certain of one thing: they can find a grounded solution through their trust in kindness.
Rather than continuing a soliloquy dedicated to his passion for his wife and his faith in the effects of love, the film slows down as its actors fall silent and the audience is presented with footage of Waymond as Evelyn reflects. at their wedding, sweating through multiple realities.
This lack of exposure means that audiences can’t help but project the faces of their loved ones. They are brought to see their sunny memories of tenderness with those they love rather than flashing fiction on the big screen.
It’s the subtle construction of Yeoh and Quan’s tone, expressions, and overall delivery that provides the power of this punch.
The silence is broken when the couple are a movie star version of themselves, with Waymond telling Evelyn he would have been satisfied if they lived a life where they did laundry and taxes together, a reference to the main universe in which the film dwells.
Evelyn puts her arms down, calmly turns to her husband and says, “I’m learning to fight like you. She moves forward into a fight scene, where she disarms her enemies by bringing them their greatest joy across the multiverse.
Moments like this aren’t exclusive to the married couple. Evelyn takes her lesson and prolongs her love.
Evelyn confronts her father about his acceptance of his daughter being a lesbian, tells Beaubeirdra that she is lovable, and assures Joy that of all the universes she could choose from, she wants to inhabit the one where they are together.
As the film draws to a close, the audience sees a woman whose heart has changed. She learned to fight with love. She learned that everyone, everywhere is doing everything at the same time, and the best thing people can do is show love and kindness.