Everything Everywhere All at Once

Everything Everywhere All at Once ★★½

As an imminent parent, I'm quite taken with the suggestion that a child is, in some respect, liable to become the most powerful person in the (your) universe. Of course that doesn't have to be taken as a threat, but Gong Gong discarded Evelyn as one and Evelyn treats Joy similarly; as something she condescendingly protects and criticizes, that special kind of parental "love" that takes the form of dutiful hostility. That Evelyn comes to realize she's been complicit in an expansive, indifferent, universal conspiracy to push her queer daughter further and further into all-consuming despair, that this has been due to her failure of imagination and perspective, and that she can literally—if I remember Yeoh turning with the camera correctly—reorient herself and literally—if I remember her searching hand correctly—find Joy... that strikes a chord. If there's anything I've fixated on as I stare down the reality of parenthood, it's that it will be my constant responsibility to embrace the person that comes into this world. I have no doubt that the forthcoming "Spud" Weaver will teach me far, far more than I can ever teach them.

The scene above continues, showing Evelyn reasserting her own inescapable individuality—albeit it in a way that seems to me a kind of counterproductive reversion, which is certainly something that people do but also kind of undercuts what plays out as straightforward earnestness?—as something that simply has to exist concurrently with her husband's and daughter's and everyone else's [insert clever invocation of the movie's title]. Great!

All of this to demonstrate my abiding interest in engaging in good faith, especially given this movie's uproarious embrace and that I'm even more tempered on this than I was on LB's prior instantaneous crown jewel.

Honestly, a pretty tiresome sit. Every idea rendered textually first and foremost, continually reinforced as referential information rather than any kind of imagistic or experiential flow. Tried to let the freneticism wash over me so I could tap into some consistent through-line but failed to find one that wasn't constantly subjected to mechanistic, whiplashing whimsy.

As enthusiastic a champion of the zany and superfluous as anyone—not to understate Obayashi's formal and narrative rigor, but House recently became one of the best movies I've seen in awhile—but what we get here feels like it originates on a spreadsheet, a movie that's obsessed with being everything to everyone all at once and succeeds by tapping into lowest-common-denominator silly-core and affected sincerity ramped up to an overwhelming pace (and length??). From what I can tell, the trick lies in how shrewdly they've placed their totems, an inundation of all the things an audience can find instinctively thrilling at a pace that floods all capacity for consideration. Some of the gags really worked for me, but all overstay their welcome and push out any intended catharsis. I don't mean to suggest that the Daniels are insincere in what they have here, but I do wonder why they feel so intent on drowning it out. Why did I have to try so hard to care about the characters in a movie that so badly wants me to care about them?

Tried over and over to enter the slipstream and all I could come away with was a few thematic and performative gems as the Daniels essentially poured gravel over me.

It’s funny to be over 30 with a tight-ass sense of artistic merit, wondering how infrequently my enthusiasm will continue to overlap with popular audiences’. I promise I have more fun when it does! The deafening buzz all but ensures my partner will want to see this together, so maybe I'll flip. The (multi-)universal enthusiasm sure puts me firmly in the minority view.

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