Everything Everywhere All at Once

Everything Everywhere All at Once ★★★★★

"The only thing I do know is that we have to be kind. Please, be kind, especially when we don't know what's going on."

Deadly fanny packs, hot dog fingers, black hole bagels, self-inflicted paper cuts, and telepathic rocks? Believe the hype - 'Everything Everywhere All At Once' is a masterpiece, a visionary work of art, a visual orgasm for the eyes and brain. I don't believe I've ever seen a film blend comedy, drama, heartfelt compassion and impressive action so smoothly, expertly and sometimes all in a manner of a second or a shot. It's genuinely mind-blowing and will serve as one of the best films to eventually rewatch, as there's so many juggling emotions on display that there's no way you'll catch everything on a first, second or even third glimpse, especially given the runtime.

The almost all-Asian cast is a fresh delight, with Michelle Yeoh anchoring the film as the lead and getting to flex her martial arts talents as flawlessly as she handles her one liners, comedic timing, and long, passionate emotional arc with her family. I've enjoyed her work for years and it makes my heart so happy to see her getting work like this after decades of success. Ke Huy Quan (Short Round!) is cool and loving, handling dual duties as both a sweet and soft husband and father who isn't sure where to go and an ultra deadly assassin from another reality who has all the answers and flexes his fists to ensure Yeoh's Evelyn Wang can ultimately succeed. Stephanie Hsu is equally talented as their daughter, playing things straight-laced but hamming it up when she steps into the shoes of the feared Jobu Tupaki. I was delighted to see James Hong not only still acting at the age of 93 and having a rather large role at that age but absolutely killing it in the process too.

There's also Jamie Lee Curtis in a rather meaty role, whose presence in this was unknown to me somehow beforehand. It looks like she's having a blast as Deirdre Beaubeirdra (I love that name), a bloated IRS agent who also gets to jump in on the action once the universe-jumping kicks in, chewing the scenery and delivering her lines with real emphasis and sass as she jumps and punches with ferocity and stalks our heroes like a horror movie monster.

The splintering parallel universes are colorfully delightful, like looking into a shattered mirror showing numerous realities at once. Occasionally, like a TV remote randomly flicking through channels, the audience also snaps between these realities via a fast glimpse or shot of what they entail. The score is ethereal and heavenly, booming and frenetic, occasionally sounding as chaotic and confusingly uncomfortable as some of the film's events are, and it's absolutely stellar throughout with all of its different collaborations. It makes a really significant impact, especially during the more swooning, tear-jerking scenes.

The action is also off the charts in a uniquely engaging way, cartoonish in its looks but masterfully choreographed by the team; I'm sure the work was made easy by working with the likes of Yeoh and Quan, who are well versed in martial arts and fight choreography, but it would've been just as easily to ruin their decades-long talents and skills through poor editing - Paul Rogers handles these duties with a masterful eye and doesn't lose focus of the performers or their ability to kick ass on screen, even at their ages today. Scene transitions and fight sequences never feel choppy or disorienting and I couldn't be more grateful for that.

The film also gets very meta heavy at points; in one instance, Evelyn experiences an action movie star career she embodies in another dimension, one clearly using real life promos and interviews from Yeoh's own time in Hollywood and beyond to showcase "what could have been." Eventually, she learns to tap into her other "personalities" on the fly, accessing a sign-spinner when she needs to work a ballistic shield defensively in a room full of henchmen or a hibachi chef to fine-tune her cutting and slicing abilities. These moments are "centered" through the characters inflicting pain on themselves or eating or drinking whatever's available, fueling their powers and the mind's understanding of it while also performing actions deemed "weird" to throw off others. It's a lot to digest, no pun intended, but it further adds to the mania and batshit insanity of the proceedings and I loved it.

Where else will you see a film where Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis romantically embrace one another with their thick hotdog fingers while Curtis plays the piano with her feet? What other film offers rollercoaster emotions like this one while simultaneously keeping you thinking and on your toes at what's to come? And where else are you going to get to see butt plug trophies used as both a means to tap into fierce, deadly dexterity but also as last second weaponry? 'Everything Everywhere All At Once' is the only movie to offer these, but past these moments that might sound cheesy or cringe out of context, it's one of the most perfectly complete, wholesome, fun, engaging and creative films you'll ever experience.

Once again, believe the hype and see the film now. It's everything, meshing science fiction, artistry, martial arts and dark comedy so profoundly and it's the absolute perfect film for what the world could use right now. I can't believe how incredible this one was and I'm already itching to see it again, and again, and again.

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