Everywhere Everything All That You Need Get It for Free (At Once)

The Film That you Never Knew You Needed: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Everywhere Everything All That You Need Get It for Free (At Once)

by Ben Steinhauer, Staff Writer

Everything Everywhere All at Once is a tour de force of a film that revels in metatextual principles of solipsism and the compassion found in defying it for the consideration of other people as well as face-melting fight choreography and ribalding conflicting tones that completely let loose and ignore that they were ever supposed to be serious in the first place. There is no better place to start than everywhere in this film and surprisingly with a film as conceptually dense as this that won’t be so difficult to embark on. When a friend recommended that I should watch this film that he felt was receiving a lack of coverage and coming from him this was subversive to my soi disant esoteric sensibilities as it pertains to what I choose to spend my time on. He informed me that I missed it in the theater so I figured I would adhere to the usual cycle which would be to wait several months before it would even be available on streaming platforms. No matter, still, how inaccessible the film was to find, this recommendation from my colleague was a godsend. 

Everything Everywhere All at Once is centered around the Wang family with the plot hinging solely on their dynamic as a family and the challenges their relationship undergoes. Tests that revolve around irreducibly pedestrian problems that are compounded by their ability to either improve or botch their situation. Granted, this imperative decision making involves cascading timelines. What we come to know as the parent timeline is host to a humble laundromat with cash-flow problems owned by the Wangs as they try to celebrate Chinese New Year with an interloping bean counter of an IRS agent, Jamie Lee Curtis, threatening the laundromat’s existence at the same time. All the while the Wang daughter, Stephanie Hsu, is feeling alienated by her parents as they vouchsafe to her their disapproval of her lesbian lifestyle while being as supportive as they would like to be despite having to pay lip service to the curmudgeonly patriarch and nonagenarian icon, James Hong. 

The boundless opportunities presented with forging one’s own timeline with the autonomy of choice is infinite. To the mother figure of the family all of these infinite timelines to base your destiny are likewise infinite regrets. This becomes completely realized when Evelyn, who is the de facto leader of the family and mother of Joy finds a way to harness it. Since her father, Gong Gong, resented the idea of her moving to the United States with her timid husband to start a business venture, she carries that baggage from the lambasting judgment of her father nevertheless. The tumults of her and her husband’s marriage and the failure of their failing laundromat is just fuel for her escapism and circumvention of her baggage. This baggage permeates timelines and she creates an interdimensional hyperspace traveling device that wields objective reduction, the theory of the wave function collapse that is the advent of consciousness and with that consciousness is the result of the spawn of a new universe. But instead of creating new universes the device that performs what is called verse jumping involves transferring one’s consciousness into favorable situations during fight sequences to borrow experiences and acumen or to completely overtake an alternate timeline version of themselves. 

These abilities have been tried before in other narratives but the ability of verse jumping is actually expertly streamlined for understanding with clear explanations as to how it operates. The conditions for which make for comedic wildfire when they have to satisfy conditions to verse jump in ways that will warrant the highest probability of opportunity to capitalize off of their situation. Situations like having to profess your love to your opponent, having to give yourself paper cuts, and let’s just say many other suppository incentives to transfer your consciousness. The force of nature villain of the movie leads to great conflict as Evelyn finds herself having to come to terms with dredging up sincerity for her daughter along the way, to great detriment of all of the other verse jumpers who see this as an act of betrayal. The antagonist, Jubo Tupaki opened the interim dimensional rupture that was precipitated by a mentor pushing her too much and a mentor that projected too many hopes that fractured this pupil’s mind. That mentor in this parent timeline is now out of all other timelines, rescinding her predisposition to defeat this pupil to the dismay of all those that call it a turncoat act. She managed to provoke everyone in the multiverse and she now reaps that responsibility.

This film is easily one of the most inventive, resourceful, and ambitious films I’ve seen in 2022. Despite what may be seen as an imbroglio inducing cacophony that all of the happenings could have taken on, Everything Everywhere All at Once is consummately grounded even without a true reality. It was surprisingly contemplative as, going into it blind, I had no idea what to expect. It was beautiful to watch the events unfold that were truly a testament to the themes of impermanence and free will throughout. It was quite self- contained in that way. This film delivered top- shelf fight sequences, editing, character development, and direction.

Everything Everywhere All at Once is 5 out of 5 bagels