Everything Everywhere All at Once

Everything Everywhere All at Once ★★★½

In 1988, the year she turned 26, Michelle Yeoh, the former Miss Malaysia turned rising action star, married the luxury-retail magnate and film executive who had launched her movie career, and retired from acting.

In 1992, she divorced, and resumed her career, onwards and upwards, but watching this film, in which 59-year-old Yeoh contemplates the what-ifs of her life, the forking paths of glamour and martial artistry and domestic anonymity, I found it very moving to contemplate the actresses of Yeoh's generation who just... went away. I remember the overwhelming crush of photographers at the New York Film Festival press screening of Ashes of Time Redux, when Brigitte Lin made her first public appearance in over a decade—she married rich, too, in 1994, the year of Ashes of Time and Chungking Express, stayed married, and hasn't been in a movie since. Cannes 2004, in which she was a spectral echo in 2046 and won Best Actress for her ex-husband's Clean, effectively marks the end of Maggie Cheung's career.

Obviously the American cinema has no shortage of women who've effectively left Hollywood to "focus on raising their family" or whatever, too—this movie's most resonant Matrix echo is of Resurrections' meta-commentary on Carrie-Anne Moss's precarious, so easily erased legacy as an aging woman in Hollywood. So more than the parent-child and generational-immigrant stuff, that's where I found the ballast amidst this pretty funny hyperpop Michel Gondry spree.