"Living an experience, a particular fate, is accepting it fully."
A human can live one life and can lead one destiny. He may or may not fulfil his dreams and his life goals.
But what if he witnesses his other alternate selves achieve his dreams in other worlds? How will it affect his original life? Are his present struggles worth it? Everything Everywhere All at Once takes the audience through this journey in the eyes of an Asian-American matriarch.
The Asian-American protagonist is Evelyn, a Chinese American who is facing hardship running a laundromat along with her nonchalant husband, Waymond. She is embroiled in many tasks- saving her only source of living from the tax officers and organising a Chinese New Year party while dealing with Raymond's divorce and their daughter Joy and her father Gong Gong's constant naggings.
However, the problems become the least of her worries when weird incidents happen at the tax audit office. Waymond is suddenly taken over by his alternative counterpart Alpha Waymond, who warns of an imminent multiversal threat Jobu Tupaki, whom he is trying to defeat led by Alpha Gong Gong.
Waymond tries to instruct her to jump over to her alternate selves as quickly as possible, but Evelyn gets more confused. Why is she the chosen one to defeat Jobu Tupaki? Who is Jobu, and why is she a threat? How does she neutralise the threat? Only the plot reveals.
The concept of the multiverse is traversed playfully in this film. Director duo Daniels turned no stones to make Evelyn's alter egos as imaginative as possible. Evelyn jumps through her different selves and witnesses her every dream fulfilled by them, while she remains the most failed version of herself. This makes her look at her life from a different perspective.
Did she make the right life choices? Was she a worthy mother to her daughter Joy? Or a worthy wife to Waymond?
As it seems, this film is not about absurdist science fiction but family relationships and life values. Since the film explores the themes of existentialism and nihilism, it can be considered an allegory of what it feels like to live with depression. One may make terrible life decisions and suffer from them for a long time, maybe his entire life.
One day it might be enough, and he may decide to leave everything. Evelyn makes bad decisions in her life and continues to commit to living in her universe with her family, however mundane it might be. In one universe, she might be a famous movie star, but in that universe, Waymond might want to spend his life with her doing taxes.
Our present life might be full of problems and struggles. But in the cosmic scheme of things, none of them matters. But love matters; our family and friends matter. So there may be a set of small moments throughout our lives where life feels like it's worth it. Everything Everywhere All at Once conveys this message beautifully through a mishmash of many genres- Black Comedy, Martial Arts, Fantasy, and Family Drama.
This film is a revival of the many actors from the 80s. Michelle Yeoh, famous for portraying the Bondgirl in Tomorrow Never Dies, stars Evelyn. She is on-screen almost the whole time and carries the film masterfully. Ke Huy Quan also revived his acting career after acting in child roles during the '80s.