Film Review: Everything Everywhere All At Once - Amelia Long Townley Grammar School

Film Review: Everything Everywhere All At Once - Amelia Long Townley Grammar School <i>(Image: Preston Pownell, Unsplash)</i>
Film Review: Everything Everywhere All At Once - Amelia Long Townley Grammar School (Image: Preston Pownell, Unsplash)

What started out as a joke about bagels became one of the best art house films of the last decade. Directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (collectively known as the Daniels) created Everything Everywhere All At Once to present a surreal world of multiverses all joined together through the relationship of character Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) and Joy/Jobu Topaki (Stephanie Hsu).

This relationship deepens in profundity as the film progresses into a mesh of stunning visuals, VFX and light hearted comedy, in one of the most existential moments, Evelyn and Jobu Topaki are in the ‘rockverse’ where they exist as as two rocks with googly eyes and communicate telepathically. Though completely silent, this scene contains the best dialogue of the film as the two characters discuss their relationship and morals that make up the narrative. The scene ends with Jobu Topaki lamenting her fight for power and the ‘everything bagel’ as she explains how lonely she felt “experiencing everything” and that maybe her connection to Evelyn in the ‘Alphaverse (where the everything bagel exists) would help her understand the multiverse and her place within it.

The choice to have Stephanie Hsu play both Joy and Jobu Topaki highlights the importance of family in this film. At the start Evelyn won’t tell her father (James Hong) that Joys ‘friend’ is really her girlfriend, yet at the end (titled ‘Part 3: All At Once) Joy travels with her parents and Gong Gong to the IRS - mirroring the scene in Part 1 (Everything) that effectively starts the multiversal plot.

It is never explicitly stated that Joy and Jobu Topaki are the same as Joy never seems aware of the multiverse or her mother’s adventures. It is however implied that Jobu Topaki lost her sanity, causing her desire for the everything bagel, due to her mother’s overbearing nature in the alphaverse, also in Part 1 both characters are nihilists with little care for the future or tradition.

Everything Everywhere All At Once cannot be defined by genre, it blends drama with comedy with action with kung fu with sci-fi to create an emotional film conveying the importance of family over everything - taxes and bagels included.