Everything Everywhere All at Once (Daniel Kwan/Daniel Scheinert, 2022, USA)

A potential Oscar front-runner this year, Everything Everywhere All at Once is a mind-bending surprise box office hit that could be best described as an indie Marvel movie. With its plotline exploring the various potential life outcomes of its protagonist Evelyn Quan (Michelle Yeoh), the film recalls many of the influential late 90s and early 2000s films that explored the nature of time and space (most significantly The Matrix, but also The Truman ShowVanilla Sky, and countless others). But the aesthetic of the film is much more influenced by short-form videos (YouTube) and anime. Directors Daniels broke onto the scene with their outrageous video for DJ Snake's "Turn Down for What," and they bring this aesthetic with them into the feature world.

EEAAO is a true whirlwind of a film that is by turns absurd and heartwarming. At two hours and twenty minutes, it's far too long - it would have been more successful at ninety. One can feel that the writer-director combo was bursting with ideas and wanted to cram as many of them as possible into a single film. The resulting film is chaotic but enjoyable for its inventiveness, and though it veers from its main narrative thread, the family story at the core of the film keeps the audience invested.

If EEAAO is overhyped, and it is, it's not without good reason. It's rare to see indie films with such grand commercial ambitions these days. A24, as with all their films, has been careful to preserve the theatrical experience around this film and not to let it premiere simultaneously with streaming. The audience response to this film has undoubtedly contributed to its success, and it would not have the popularity it has without the word-of-mouth that emerged from seeing the film with a large crowd. EEAAO is a ride worth taking. 



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