Does Everything, Everywhere, All at Once deserve its Oscars?

Everything, Everywhere, All at Once is the most insane, off the wall, completely bananas movie I had ever seen and it’s a really, really long title. From now on, I will be referring to Everything, Everywhere, All at Once as EEAAO.

Should you watch it? Let’s dive into what all the buzz is about.

Streaming on: Paramount+ with Showtime upgrade as of this writing.

So, even though you have broken my heart yet again, I wanted to say, in another life, I would have really liked just doing laundry and taxes with you.

What is EEAAO about?

EEAAO is a movie about Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) falling behind on her taxes. She and her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) must visit the IRS office and speak to IRS Agent Deidre (Jamie Lee Curtis) to resolve their tax dispute.

Before we get to the IRS office we find out that Evelyn has a daughter named Joy (Stephanie Hsu) who is dating Debbie the Dog Mom (Jenny Slate). Their pairing has not been formally introduced to Evelyn’s grandfather, Gong Gong (James Hong) and this has caused a rift in the family.

It is through this rift that we discover the true conflict. The universe is about to be destroyed and only Evelyn has the capability to stop it.

You think because l’m kind that it means I’m naive, and maybe I am. It’s strategic and necessary. This is how I fight.

Waymond in the movie universe telling Evelyn, ,"When I choose to see the good side of things, I'm not being naive. It is strategic and necessary. It's how I learned to survive through everything."

Does the concept Sound confusing? It is.

Everything, Everywhere, All at Once goes from zero to one-hundred in less than fifteen minutes. We go from a simple trip to the tax office, to Evelyn’s husband becoming possessed by a commando version of himself called Alpha Waymond. Alpha Waymond wants to recruit Evelyn to stop Jobu Tupaki from destroying the entirety of the multiverse.

Evelyn's image is shattered by broken glass and we see different multiverse versions of her.

Meanwhile, the “real” Waymond has his own conflict with Evelyn in that they’ve grown distant from one another. There is A LOT going on and if you’re not paying attention, you can easily lose track of which universe you’re following.

What makes the multiverse concept extremely cool is the ability to tap into the knowledge and experiences of another version of yourself. If I had been a CIA officer in another universe, I could tap into that version of me and instantly learn how to infiltrate, steal, and network with valuable assets.

How They Tap into these special powers is hilarious

The only way to harness these amazing powers is to do something that you would never do in a life-or-death situation. For example, when Alpha Waymond needs a specialty martial arts skillset, he takes out a stick of ChapStick and literally eats it. After doing so, he gains the ability to use his fanny pack as a deadly whip.

Some of the triggers in EEAAO get even more outlandish and way more graphic. When you notice Deidre’s award on her desk, you’ll know what I mean. These triggers lead to some of the funniest gags in the movie. The comedy works thanks to the fight choreography directed by brothers Andy and Brian Le, two martial arts choreographers who run the Martial Club Youtube channel. They make fun of all the classic anime tropes while delivering some truly impressive stunt work. Check out their video below.

Behind the scenes of Everything, Everywhere, All at Once:

Great martial arts action does not an Oscar worthy movie make

If you’re wondering why people are making such a fuss over EEAAO, it goes deeper than the martial arts action and all the crazy universes. The true crux of the story revolves around Evelyn never having amounted to anything substantial in her life.

Her life with Waymond is boring and uninteresting. Instead of becoming an international movie star or a world renown chef, she runs a laundromat with her husband. Her traditional family values also put her at odds with her daughter Joy who wants to formally announce her girlfriend to her grandfather.

Evelyn is standing in front of her husband Waymond and her daughter Joy, protecting them from an off-screen danger.

The acting is phenomenal across the board. If you can gird yourself to sit through the weirdness and silliness of the multiverse concept, you will be treated to a gut-wrenching story which left me shattered and blubbering in the end. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t help but crumble into tears when Evelyn stuck with her decision to resolve the conflict.

EEAAO is the perfect movie to watch for a mother and daughter. The ending was well worth the wait.

Mom, just stop! Good for you. You’re figuring your shit out. And that’s great. I’m really, really happy for you. But I’m tired. I don’t want to hurt anymore. And for some reason when I’m with you, it just hurts the both of us. So let’s just go our separate ways, ok? Just let me go!

EEAAO does a lot with very little

If you take a closer look at it, you’ll probably notice there aren’t many sets or locations in this movie. Half of the movie takes place in an office. Rumors say the movie was shot for under twenty-five million, maybe even fifteen (amazing how fifteen million is considered low budget), and even with this small budget the movie feels bigger than it is.

The filmmakers Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert did a monumental job of making the most out of what little money they had. Even the VFX team was composed of individuals who self-taught themselves special effects via Youtube tutorials.

And what I really loved was the sense of place. Every location felt real. From Evelyn’s cluttered house to the surprisingly romantic seedy back alley of the movie star universe, I wanted to visit every location and live in their world for a brief moment.

Even though some of the universes seem completely wacky and off the wall, the heart of the movie shines through it all and it’s an absolute treasure to experience.

Everything, Everywhere, All at Once has quickly become one of my favorite movies and I truly believe it earned all its Oscar praise.

Give this movie a chance to surprise you. I did and I don’t regret the decision.

I wanted to start off the new year on a new foot. But, maybe you’re right. Maybe we would have been better off, if we had never gotten married.”
“I never said that.”
“You didn’t have to. It’s the way you look at me.

Five stars.

Edit 3/16/23: I incorrectly listed Starz as the streaming platform. This has been corrected to Showtime.

Related Articles

Picture of Wilmar Luna

Wilmar Luna

Couldn't be a superhero in real life so he decided to write his own. When he's not creating empowered female characters he can be found watching films, reading books, and playing lots of video games. Buy his books here: