Everything Everywhere All at Once @The Dukes, 18th March at 20:10 and 22nd March at 20:30
Everything Everywhere All at Once is a film of two halves.
On the one hand, it is a wild, exciting and genuinely hilarious adventure as tired everywoman, Evelyn Wang, is recruited to save the entire multiverse from the threat of the menacing antagonist, Jobu Tupaki. But alongside the breakneck speed and sheer insanity of Evelyn’s quest, is a delicate, tender exploration of a woman’s frustration at the mundanity of her everyday life, and a mother’s struggle to connect to her adult daughter, whom she finds to be increasingly distant.
It’s easy to go from laughter at the bizarre reality of a universe where humans had evolved to have hot dogs for fingers, to tears through the film’s complicated yet deeply touching depiction of family life. These two halves of the film come together perfectly to create a whole that I would confidently rank amongst my favourite stories of all time and it is surely the favourite for Best Picture at tonight’s Academy Awards.
To divulge much more about the plot of Everything Everywhere All at Once would rob prospective viewers of the unpredictable thrill that makes the film so special. Aiding the charm of the fun and chaotic plot are the absolutely outstanding performances, reflected in the nominations for Best Actress, Supporting Actor, and two for Supporting Actress. Michelle Yeoh gives a stellar performance as the perpetually stressed Evelyn and Stephanie Hsu infuses the bored, jaded nihilism of Jobu Tupaki with a streak of sarcastic wit. The stand-out performance, though, is given by Ke Huy Quan in his role as the hapless but kind-hearted Waymond Wang. In a triumphant and massively deserved return to the cinema screen, Quan effuses the warmth of Waymond with tear-jerking authenticity.
Everything Everywhere All at Once has been nominated for 11 Oscars, the most of any film competing at this year’s Academy Awards – an achievement that it truly deserves. Through Evelyn’s fast-paced and often nonsensical journey across the multiverse, the film anchors itself with a simple message, to “be kind.” It doesn’t deny that we might sometimes experience the kind of nihilism that Jobu Tupaki is so plagued by – at points, we will be struck by the mundanity of life and the worry that we’ve “seen it all before.” But Everything Everywhere All at Once encourages us to break through these feelings of nihilism, and to find joy wherever we can; Evelyn points out to us that “there are no rules!” Sometimes the key to quashing our boredom is as simple as a pair of googly eyes.