After a six-year hiatus from feature directing, the appropriately named duo DANIELS (Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert) have returned to the silver screen with what can only be described as a unique sophomore venture, “Everything Everywhere All At Once.”
In this extremely singular genre-blend, we take a journey through a grounded conceptualization of the ‘multiverse’ phenomenon through the lens of Evelyn, played by the fantastically versatile Michelle Yeoh. Evelyn is a middle-aged Chinese-American woman running a laundromat with her goofy husband (Ke Huy Quan), her distant daughter (Stephanie Hsu) and her recently migrated father (James Hong). In the midst of her excruciating daily routine, Evelyn is suddenly visited by an alternate version of her husband who comes bearing the message of impending doom spreading throughout the many alternate universes. In terms of describing the plot, that’s putting it lightly.
The story is so dense and jam-packed with intertwining storylines and variations of characters, it can be hard to discern a single story the film contains. At its heart, it’s about the relationship between the main character and her daughter and how the universe collapsing on itself is an allegory for their abstract relationship.
In terms of storytelling, E.E.A.A.O. is a family dramedy. In terms of filmmaking, it’s an action movie. As the characters use the abilities of their varying selves across different universes, they often garner skills in combat that ensue numerous hilariously-entertaining fight scenes. Much like their slapstick music videos and 2016’s “Swiss Army Man,” the Daniels make the action in E.E.A.A.O. a one-of-a-kind experience. Blending kung fu with office supplies, acrobatics with phallic objects, the action in this film is so ridiculous and creative, it separates itself from any other film in existence.
This film does, like its title suggests, everything. You can go into this film with whatever expectation and will most likely walk out satisfied. It is one of very few recent films that holds the power to be genuinely hilarious and realistically heartfelt. ‘Realistic’ is the last thing to call this film but you’d be surprised how much you may resonate with it. For as extreme and absurdist as it is, E.E.A.A.O. is a film that reaches magnitudes of emotion, in every single variety.
It’s my personal favorite film of the year so far and I can’t recommend buying yourself a ticket to see this childishly-imaginative, breathtaking piece of surreal beauty as soon as possible. Catch it on the biggest screen possible with the biggest crowd possible, this is a definite crowd pleaser.
(Now playing in theaters: Rated R)