We are actually the ones who have to follow everything, everywhere and at the same time in this film. The public is called to work overtime to decode, understand and keep pace with a story that, in two hours and twenty, has the ambition to introduce all its mythology and science fiction ideas based on concepts with which the cinema has been playing for some time (parallel universes) but has its own rules. It is Christopher Nolan’s cinema, the one that challenges the viewer to understand it and in doing so conquers the audience, only declined in a humorous key, to say something serious. Without Inception or Interstellar or even more Tenet it would have been impossible to think that a film like Everything Everywhere All At Once could be digested. It is no coincidence that the best we can say about its story is that the plot and the plot are very difficult to explain in words but very clear within the film. That is, they are better illustrated in the language of cinema than in that of writing. Which is the reason why you go to the theater and don’t get told about the films.
Nonetheless, we try to tell it by focusing on simplicity: a Chinese woman for years in America, who with a laundromat with her husband has built a family but who is fighting against taxes in order not to close, is unexpectedly contacted by her husband of a another parallel universe: a terrible villain threatens the stability of the universes, she is the key to solving everything and must quickly learn to fight by absorbing abilities from other lei of other universes. There will be her singer with greater lung capacity, her martial artist who knows kung fu and then again she who uses her feet very well and the chef who handles great knives. She will be able to absorb everything from these other versions of herself and empower herself but also see a thousand other versions of how her life could go that, right now, does not satisfy her.
From Christopher Nolan comes even more than just the puzzle in the script, there are the different narrative planes to follow at the same time as the woman jumps from one point to another of the multiverses or the fact that through this delusion a mother and a daughter are looking for each other, they find each other. and are held together with the strength of feelings, as it happened in Interstellar. The real idea in this delirium of quotes, other films (each alternative dimension has the style, aesthetics and gimmicks of well-known films) is, if anything, that Everything Everywhere All At Once it’s a parody. Every element he takes from science fiction and fantastic cinema treats it as modern parodies do, those of Edgar Wright to be clear (from which he also steals the montage and humor), not so much by overturning everything in its opposite but following the kind of belonging with such exaggerated fidelity as to border on ridicule in that way.
When we understand that the protagonist is the most classic of the chosen ones, the one who can save everything, it seems to be in the cliché, but the film reveals that she is the chosen one precisely because of all the versions of herself she is the one who made all the decisions wrong. She is not chosen because she is powerful, but because she is unlucky. Similarly, when the time comes to play something emotional and sentimental on the piano, it happens in the space-time dimension where you use your feet (because your hands have sausages instead of fingers), so the poignant music is played with feet but shot as if it were a serious and moving scene. So Everything Everywhere All At Once he manages to shoot a lot from many films, but at the same time he manages to speak a language that is only his own, and with that to say something about emotions. In this he manages not to be original (which is a little bit) but personal, that is, unique.
This, however, is also the limit of a film full of eccentric and funny ideas precisely because they are eccentric (the adventure is almost entirely inside the building of the revenue agency, every leap into another dimension must be made by performing unpredictable and therefore ridiculous actions) , even if they don’t always work. This is the real tricky part, making sense of eccentricities. The point of it all, in the end, is surprisingly simple, basic. Despite the chaos set up, the Daniels’ objective ability to direct and direct well, and the ability to write something intricate but clear, the engine is sentimental, and the interest is in realizing a woman’s full potential, the relationship. with a daughter who is not what she thought or wanted and the acceptance by the girl of the Chinese family ties, very strong and stringent, but also an anchor to avoid sinking into chaos. In a beautiful scene from the film, this sinking is literally what happens.
It really seems like the most disappointing outcome for such an ambitious film venture. Were it not for an exceptional Michelle Yeoh, capable of being everything, everywhere and at the same time, capable of doing a job that no one in the West can do (traditional acting and classic Hong Kong-style comedy, made up of rapid movements, body games and silent cinema gags at extreme speed), with the grace of a high-level martial artist, it certainly would be a more boring film (as was their previous and equally eccentric Swiss Army Man). Instead, this incredible actress, whom American cinema has never really understood, does everything to create a character as complete and profound as possible on a canvas that would not have foreseen any in-depth analysis. It does not fully succeed (because Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s determination to focus on the dynamics of the film more than on people is too much) but it remains the sharpest point of a film that is technically fun, exciting and capable of making films at high levels .