Everything Everywhere All at Once
When we decided that our new newsletter was going to have a “movie of the month” with reviews by our team at Unnamed Films, I immediately knew that Everything Everywhere all at Once was going to be our first pick. We picked this film as our first to review even before it became the most awarded film of all time – and while there was some internal dispute at UNF as to whether or not it should have been able to topple Return of the King as the most awarded, I can say, categorically, that this is my favorite movie of all time.
I went into the movie blind, knowing only the small blurb that showed up on the streaming service we used: “A middle-aged Chinese immigrant struggles to complete her taxes.” And honestly, that is the best way to watch this movie, so I’ve kept this review absolutely free of spoilers. The first time I watched it, I cried twice. The second time, no tears, but the third time, I cried four times. So, seriously, grab yourself an everything bagel and press play.
Everything Everywhere all at Once is categorized as Science Fiction, but it is more than that – it is the story of a woman and her relationship with her daughter, the generational cycle of failing to live up to your parents' expectations, a message about kindness, and an exploration of the meaning of life. Also, it is without a doubt the weirdest, funniest, most bizarre movie I have ever seen.
While the film has a number of arcs and messages, to me the most poignant was the conflict between Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) and her daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu). Joy is a nihilist and Evelyn feels that she (and Joy) need to do more to find meaning in life. The conflict is literally about the answer to the question: “does anything matter?,” and if you're anything like me, Joy & Evelyn working their way through it will bring you to tears.
There are incredible performances from everyone in this movie – in my opinion, the scenes with Michelle Yeoh and Stephanie Hsu especially near the end of the film contain some of the most moving performances from any movie in the last few years. And actually, they’re played by rocks in a portion of those scenes, so, do with that what you will. Ke Huy Quan (who you will recognize from India Jones and The Goonies) won his first academy award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Everything Everywhere all at Once, which made the film's award for Best Picture being handed out by Harrison Ford feel somewhat poetic. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Jamie Lee Curtis' win for best supporting actress (which is the subject of some... discourse online). Some feel that another actress was snubbed in favor of Curtis – which may well be true! – but what I'll say is that I didn't actually realize Curtis was in the film until my second viewing in which Jessie interrupted the movie by shouting "Is that Jamie Lee Curtis???" in shock and I had to Google the cast to be sure.
If you want to watch a movie that is not a blockbuster, is artistic as hell, and might just make you feel entirely too many feelings, check out Everything Everywhere all at Once. I came away from this film wanting to find a new way to look at life, and with a renewed motivation to take control over my own situation. After all, as Evelyn (sorta) says in the movie,