Everything Everywhere All At Once: orgiastic work of a slaphappy genius | Sunday Observer

Everything Everywhere All At Once: orgiastic work of a slaphappy genius

19 March, 2023

“Everything Everywhere All At Once” is a science fiction fantasy film that explores the concept of multiverses, featuring a majority Asian cast. The film is directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, also known as the Daniels, and stars Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Ke Huy Quan in lead roles. The film was produced by Anthony and Joe Russo and Jonathan Wang.

The film tells the story of a woman named Everlyn (played by Yeoh), who discovers she has the power to travel between different dimensions, and must navigate through different versions of herself to save her family and the world. It follows Evelyn Wang, a Chinese-American immigrant who must connect with parallel universe versions of herself to prevent a powerful being from destroying the multiverse.

Supporting roles

Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, Jenny Slate, Harry Shum Jr., James Hong, and Jamie Lee Curtis play supporting roles. ‘The New York Times’ called the film a “swirl of genre anarchy” with elements of surreal comedy, science fiction, fantasy, martial arts films, and animation.

Kwan and Scheinert began work on the project in 2010, and its production was announced in 2018. Principal photography ran from January to March 2020.

The soundtrack features compositions by Son Lux, including collaborations with Mitski, David Byrne, André 3000, John Hampson, and Randy Newman. The film premiered at South by Southwest on March 11, 2022, and began a limited theatrical release in the United States on March 25, 2022, before a wide release by A24 on April 8.

It grossed $107 million worldwide, becoming A24’s first film to cross the $100 million mark and surpassing ‘Hereditary’ (2018) as its highest-grossing film.

The movie has been praised for its innovative and challenging approach to storytelling, as well as its unique blend of genres, including action, comedy, and science fiction. It has been noted for its diverse and talented cast, as well as its technical achievements in visual effects and cinematography. The film has also been recognized for its underlying themes of family, identity, and the power of choice.

The film was acclaimed for its originality, screenplay, direction, acting (particularly of Yeoh, Hsu, Quan, and Curtis), visual effects, costume design, action sequences, musical score, and editing. Its portrayal of philosophical concepts such as existentialism, nihilism, and absurdism, as well as its approach to themes such as neurodivergence, depression, generational trauma, and Asian-American identity, have been widely analyzed.

Seven awards

Among its numerous accolades, the film received a leading eleven nominations at the 95th Academy Awards, and won seven, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Yeoh), Best Supporting Actor (Quan), Best Supporting Actress (Curtis), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.

It also won two Golden Globe Awards, five Critics’ Choice Awards (including Best Picture), one BAFTA Award, a record four SAG Awards (including Best Ensemble), seven Independent Spirit Awards (including Best Feature), and swept the four major guild awards (DGA, PGA, SAG, and WGA).

Overall, “Everything Everywhere All At Once” has been described as a groundbreaking and ambitious film that pushes the boundaries of cinema and challenges viewers to think outside the box. Its Best Picture win at the 2023 Oscars has been seen as a triumph for unconventional and experimental cinema.

Critical response

David Ehrlich of ‘IndieWire’ called the film an “orgiastic work of slaphappy genius”, praising the direction and performances, particularly Yeoh’s. The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney called it a “frenetically plotted serve of stoner heaven [that] is insanely imaginative and often a lot of fun”, complimenting the cast and score but found the handling of the story’s underlying theme underwhelming.


In her review for RogerEbert.com, Marya E. Gates lauded Yeoh’s performance, writing, “Yeoh is the anchor of the film, given a role that showcases her wide range of talents, from her fine martial art skills to her superb comic timing to her ability to excavate endless depths of rich human emotion, often just from a glance or a reaction.”

Charles Bramesco, writing for ‘The Guardian’, praised Daniels for constructing a “large, elaborate, polished, and detailed expression of a vision,” Amy Nicholson of ‘The Wall Street Journal’ wrote, “Over its nearly two-and-a-half-hour running time, the movie’s ambitions double, and double again, as though it’s a petri dish teeming with Kwan and Scheinert’s wildest ideas.”