This is a movie that came out of absolutely nowhere but greatly surprised everyone who watched it. I’m going to be honest, before this movie came out, I had not heard of it, I did not have interest in it, and I did not think I would be going to theatres to see it. But after seeing the overwhelmingly positive response from critics (95% on Rotten Tomatoes!) and the high praise from numerous friends, I decided to check it out. And boy, nothing could’ve prepared me for what was going to happen. For me, Everything Everywhere All at Once is the best movie to come out of 2022 so far; I was blown away. Not only is this movie completely original and creative, it somehow succeeds in mashing together several genres without being overbearing. Sure it’s an action movie, but it’s also a comedy and a drama and science fiction and so much more (could just be me, but I’d say there’s even a tad bit of horror?). While this giant mix of genres seems like it’d be problematic, it somehow perfectly reflects the chaotic, mind-blowing nature of the film itself. It’s been a while since I’ve seen something so thought-provoking so I’m excited to share my thoughts.

[Please note that this review does include spoilers so read at your own risk!]

Evelyn, Waymond, and Gong Gong talking to the tax advisor.

Having gotten used to seeing Marvel and DC superhero movies that generally follow the same formula, this movie was a breath of fresh air. It is surprisingly very funny (I found myself genuinely laughing a lot) and the humour didn’t feel forced at all. I loved how they actually took the time to properly explain what the Multiverse is and how it works so that audiences can follow along without issue (unlike another Marvel movie that recently released…). It was simple enough that I didn’t need to question the logic whenever they verse-jumped, but it was still crazy enough that it added to the absurdity and appeal of the film. Exploring this Multiverse also opened the door to tons of action and big spectacles which made it all the more fun to watch and kept me on my toes. If you’re a fan of cool fight sequences, you won’t be disappointed with this movie. The fights are unique and incredibly bizarre (butt plugs and fanny packs anyone?) but that’s what makes it so special and entertaining. I’ve never seen fighting done the way that this film has, and I can confidently say you probably haven’t either.

Led by the amazing Michelle Yeoh, the cast was incredible and they had notable chemistry with one another throughout the entire film. Their performances were heartfelt and sincere, and each character had a significant part to play in the story. With the combination of Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn, Ke Huy Quan as Waymond, and Stephanie Hsu as Joy, they were able to create an on-screen family that felt believable and authentic; this was crucial since the heart of the film centers around this family and their vulnerability. While I have nothing but high praise for the actors, what really impressed me about this film was how it made me feel. There are so many themes and messages woven into this story, I’m honestly astonished at how they managed to pull it off.

Waymond talking to Evelyn in another multiverse

But where do I even begin? The commentary on Asian culture and identity? How the Multiverse explores our potential and endless possibilities? The giant freaking Bagel of Doom? Okay, okay. Let’s just start from square one – the beginning. I was immediately drawn into this movie right from the opening sequence simply because of how accurately they depicted an Asian household. From the parent who has the responsibility of caring for an older relative to the Westernized daughter who can barely speak the language, the overall messy dynamic of the family just screamed Asian household to me. As an Asian Canadian and a daughter to Asian immigrants myself, I instantly connected with these characters. There was an evident boundary between Evelyn and Joy, and I could see from my own experiences that it was one formed by generational and cultural differences. This film does a good job in capturing instances of this, such as how Evelyn shows distaste towards Joy being in a relationship with another woman, or how Joy is only barely able to communicate with Gong Gong using a mix of English and Chinese.

I personally believe that this movie does an excellent job of representing Asian culture and identity without being offensive or stereotypical. What you see feels real and is an accurate portrayal of Asian families and how culture plays a role in defining their relationships. Without using words, this movie demonstrates how Asian culture prides itself on being independent, tough, and resilient. It shows this both as a strength and a weakness. For example, as a strength we can see how Evelyn builds herself a new home and family in a foreign country after being kicked out by her father, or how she looks after the laundromat and tax issues by herself. What this film does so brilliantly though, is it shows how weaknesses form from this strength. In only caring about what needs to be done, she becomes inattentive to her husband and careless of her daughter’s needs. This struggle to maintain a good relationship with her daughter is what ultimately leads to her having to “save the Multiverse”.

Evelyn trying to defend Waymond and Joy from Gong Gong

And I suppose this leads us to the giant Bagel of Doom. When I first saw this supposed dangerous Bagel, I thought it was both hilarious and terrifying. Like okay, that giant bagel is going to kill them all, hilarious. But also, oh god, that giant bagel is going to kill them all. I was completely thrown off guard when it’s revealed that Jobu Tupaki (Joy) and this giant Bagel are not actually villains trying to destroy the Multiverse, but they were simply representing a young woman suffering and wanting to destroy herself. It’s as simple as this – the Bagel is a symbol of Joy’s life and the significance of it being an ‘everything’ Bagel is that no matter what Joy kept adding to it (and she really added everything), none of it meant anything to her. All she could see and feel was this giant black void that consumed everything but gave her nothing. To me, this is ultimately what this movie is about: finding meaning in one’s life. For Evelyn, it’s her realization of how much she loves Waymond and how fortunate she is to have him in her life. For Joy, it’s being reunited with her mother and knowing that although both of them could be anywhere in the universe, they chose to be together.

From the moment Evelyn is first introduced to Alphaverse Waymond and she is swept into saving the Multiverse, everything starts to happen so quickly. The action is intense, the music is pounding, the stakes are high, and I could feel myself filling with adrenaline. The camerawork reflects this feeling; the camera shots are choppy and transition quickly from one shot to the next (especially in fight sequences), creating this sense of urgency. There’s also a lot of bright colours being used and flashing strobe lights that intensify the action. Everything about this movie is flashy, loud, colourful, and it all but seems to be yelling at you to go go go! But it’s ironic because if anything, this movie is trying to get you to slow down. It’s trying to tell you to take a moment and breathe. In the midst of everyday life (thought not as hectic as saving a Multiverse), we often forget to pace ourselves and remember what’s important and what we value. It’s what we find meaningful that gives us purpose and happiness.

The ending of Everything Everywhere All At Once - the family at the tax office

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I urge you to watch this in theatres while you still can because it’s such a unique experience. This isn’t your boring, dramatic movie about a family and their problems, it’s a wacky, outrageous, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it movie about love, patience, and purpose. After having a lot of time to review and reflect on this movie, I’ve decided my final rating for Everything Everywhere All at Once is 9/10. It is a jumbled mess of perfection that will make you laugh at the most absurd things and cry at the sweetest, most heartfelt moments. My only criticism is that the middle section of the movie felt a little long and tiring, but it quickly builds up to the climax that is both exhilarating and emotional. It was honestly such a pleasant surprise just how wonderful this film was, and I can only hope to see more like this soon.