[Critique] “Everything Everywhere All at Once”, a multiverse to have fun


Who has never dreamed, even fleetingly, of leading another life, more adventurous, more glamour, more anything? This is literally the opportunity that will present itself to the improbable, but oh so endearing heroine of the film Everything Everywhere All at Once (Everything everywhere all at once), a whimsical comedy full of action, heart and ideas.

In our interview with the Daniels (Swiss Army Man), the duo of screenwriters and directors at the origin of this singular proposal, we spoke of a “cinematic shock”. We reiterate it.

The film stars Michelle Yeoh (Tiger and Dragon) as Evelyn Wang. In her late fifties, Evelyn did not realize any of her dreams. Having left China to pay her her first visit to the United States in twenty years, her father, Gong Gong, judges her even more harshly than she judges herself. As for her husband, Waymond, his irrepressible joviality gets on Evelyn’s nerves. This partly explaining that, Waymond wants a divorce. And there is their daughter, Joy…

It’s not that Evelyn disapproves of Joy’s homosexuality, but simply that she can’t communicate with her. Sad record.

Speaking of the balance sheet, there is precisely this official from the Revenue Agency, Deirdre, who is looking into the finances of the Wang laundry room. And all of this culminating on the same terrible day, but a day that suddenly becomes synonymous with a thousand promises.

Audacity and excess

While everything is going badly, Evelyn receives strange news and a no less unusual mission. Firstit appears that myriads of Evelyn lead different existences in as many parallel universes, but that, second, this “multiverse” is threatened by a malevolent being that only this Evelyn can overcome – not because she has a special talent or even because she is the best “Evelyn”. On the contrary: her life being a complete failure, she is only untapped potential, an empty shell that can be filled with all that the other Evelyns have best to offer.

This antithesis of the traditional figure of the “chosen one” with slumbering gifts is only one of the subversive finds of the Daniels. A woman, immigrant moreover and almost sexagenarian, as a superheroine: who says better?

At first with a mixture of awkwardness and disbelief, Evelyn thus travels through the dimensions, gleaning talents and skills in order to confront this negative force whose exact nature will be kept secret.

By their own admission, the filmmakers were inspired by seminal films of the late 1990s, hence this side The Matrix (The matrix), without the solemnity, or fight clubwithout the cynicism, or even Being John Malkovich (Inside John Malkovich’s Head), more variegated.

Truly, the result has to be seen to be believed so Everything Everywhere All at Once — appropriate title if there is one — has the chance to captivate, to confuse, even to make one blush. Indeed, the Daniels punctuate their mad visual and narrative inventiveness with a myriad of disconcerting audacities (the inhabitants of one of the parallel universes sport sausage-like fingers and use their toes more) and schoolboy excesses (for reasons too long to explain, two of Evelyn’s assailants engage her in a fight with butt plugs » pushed into the behind, in particular).

Fantastic Michelle Yeoh

Michelle Yeoh is fantastic as a woman of an ordinary extraordinary. Depending on the worlds visited, she is sometimes a singer, sometimes a star of action films, each time perfect, but never as much as Evelyn Wang, a harassed protagonist with nothing left to lose. The presence, in the role of Gong Gong, of the always tasty James Hong, a spirited nonagenarian here in a wheelchair, like his Lo Pan in the cult Big Trouble in Little China (The Adventures of Jack Burton in the Claws of the Mandarin), is another plus. Former child actor seen in The Goonies (The Goonies), Ke Huy Quan is wonderful in Waymond, a welcome leading role.

Within this fabulous supporting cast, however, it is Jamie Lee Curtis who steals the show. Visibly delighted to put aside any form of pride, the figurehead of the saga Halloween plays Deidre, the infamous Revenue Agency official, with an absolutely irresistible mixture of letting go and ardor.

In line with the title, the smallest details in Everything Everywhere All at Once reveal infinite potentialities. Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that the reason for the chaos shaking this multiverse turns out to be quite simple, but infinitely complex. Deliberately irreverent and surprisingly moving, this film is pure bliss.

Everything everywhere all at once (VF de Everything Everywhere All at Once)

★★★★​ ​1/2

The Daniels’ whimsical comedy. With Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu, Jamie Lee Curtis, James Hong. USA, 2022, 139 minutes. Indoors.

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