Preceded by a solid reputation following its surprise success at the American box office and the good feedback from festival-goers who were able to take a look at it, Everything Everywhere All at Once finally arrives in our theaters. And its buzz is far from undeserved.
Within the sphere of enthusiasts, Everything Everywhere All at Once has been on everyone’s lips for several months. Released on May 25 in the United States, the film distributed by A24 totaled nearly 70 million dollars in the territory, and is approaching 100 million worldwide. Certainly, nothing comparable to a Marvel, but on its own scale, it is a real feat that intrigued and whose reputation has continued to grow at the dawn of its French release. An unexpected release until Originals Factory and Pathé Live finally achieve a miracle.
And since we are talking about Marvel, if Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness started the summer season in dark rooms by staging the principle of infinity of parallel universes, it is not insignificant that this period closes on a film with a similar idea, but much more Multiverse and much more Madness. From there to say that Doctor Strange was only a warm-up…
Michelle Yeoh portrays Evelyn Wang, a fifty-year-old Chinese-American who no longer has any control over her life. She is entangled in taxes, her daughter, whom she no longer understands, introduces her to her girlfriend, she has to deal with her father who has come from China and her husband asks her for a divorce. It is at this moment that she finds herself mixed up in the multiverse in order to face a dark force there. As she observes all the lives she could have led, she must save the world and try to preserve her family.
If we had to sum up Everything Everywhere All at Once in one word, it would be “crazy”. The Daniels (nickname given to directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan) had already shown their taste for crazy ideas with Swiss Army Man in 2016 where Paul Dano befriended a corpse played by Daniel Radcliffe, but it seems that this is not It was just an appetizer, their new project pushing all the sliders to the maximum. Let’s face it, when you leave the room, you have no idea what you just saw, simply because you saw it all in one go.
Everything Everywhere All at Once is a family chronicle. A science fiction film tinged with martial arts. An absurd comedy. It is a work so rich, so extravagant, that it becomes indefinable. She embraces her concept to indulge in all the delusions that have gone through the minds of its authors and which authorizes them to mix genres without restraint.
By depriving itself of nothing, the film takes shape as a junction of all inspirations, ranging from Matrix to 2001, A Space Odyssey via The Mask while paying homage to the Wu Tang style (category of films from Chinese martial arts). More than a feature film, we are faced with an experience of what cinema allows both in terms of staging – the broken editing, the use of an environment as a crossroads of genres – and in terms storytelling with the practice of parallel worlds.
An experience that is difficult to analyze as the footage never gives us time to breathe. We’re in a washing machine drum that won’t spit us out until the very end. Everything Everywhere All at Once is a risk. That of abandoning it, washed out, along the way as we are unable to swallow or understand everything that is happening before our eyes. Ourselves, although we particularly appreciated the exercise, we would be lying if we declared that we had grasped each attempt at an explanation in the midst of a mass of information. Definitely exhilarating, deliberately exhausting.
A confusion that absolutely does not affect the authors who never let go of their common thread along the way. Behind its catch-all side, Everything Everywhere All at Once recounts the infinitely small within the infinitely large. As if the objective of this deluge of universes ultimately boiled down to just one thing: our ability to listen to others, to accept them.
The universe that is falling apart is only an image to tell the fragmentation of a life, of a family. It is not for nothing that the footage is divided into chapters, as if, after having exploded the story, it had to be refocused on the simplest and most complex thing in the world: an emotion. Through her different versions, Michelle Yeoh recounts herself and constantly returns to the same point by dint of not opening up. Open up to your lost lives, to your loved ones. Everything Everywhere is a family chronicle. And a sci-fi film tinged with martial arts. And an absurd comedy. All at Once.