(Note: My travel schedule during initial release of this film made me neglect to post the review I aired when the movie first opened. I loved it but never expected a 7-Oscar, above-the-line sweep).
Outrageous, confusing or confounding, Everything Everywhere All At Once stands out as one of the most original movies to come along in years. Its modernistic use of alternative universes ultimately leads to old fashioned warm fuzziness with surprising sleight of hand tricks from its writers/ directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. The Daniels take an absurdist approach with their fantasy elements, going beyond Marvel Universe worlds by adding crazy concepts and cynicism to the mix. It all works better because the creators bring in Michelle Yeoh as the movie’s centerpiece. The Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon martial arts star shines as a Chinese immigrant coming to terms with choices she made earlier in her life. Playing a range of iterations from bitter businesswoman to glamorous actress, Yeoh suits every demand made by the script—which includes the choreographed moves of an action star from kung fu movies. Strong back up comes from Stephanie Hsu of the Shang-Chi movie and Ke Huy Quan, grown up since his days as Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Padded with fake belly fat, Jamie Lee Curtis goes against type as a dowdy tax auditor—though like everyone else in the film, she and her characters often switch gears as action moves from one alternative scenario to another. Pay attention and it all makes sense as the Daniels show how to have everything happen everywhere all at once. Plus, they share an important message for mothers: communicate well with your daughter or she may go rogue and try to take over our world--and everyone elses.