An aging Chinese immigrant is swept up in an insane adventure, where she alone can save the world by exploring other universes connecting with the lives she could have led.
Soooooooo……here’s the thing.
This is going to be a different type of review. Normally, I do The Good the Bad and the Ugly stuff of every film that I review and trust me, I really tried to go down that route with this one as normally as I could.
But let me tell ya, this is one of the more challenging movies that I’ve EVER seen in a movie theater. Though I mean that as endearingly as I possibly can, it does put my thoughts in kind of a blender. I will give the viewer a warning that I do not feel as a spoiler in any way:
IF AT ANY POINT YOU CHOOSE TO GET UP FROM YOUR SEAT, AND LEAVE YOUR AUDITORIUM TO USE THE BATHROOM, GET CONCESSIONS, ETC ETC ETC.. YOU MAY COME BACK AND NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT’S GOING ON. AND YOU MAY NOT CATCH UP ON WHAT IS HAPPENING FOR THE REST OF THE RUNNING TIME OF THIS MOVIE. SERIOUSLY.
I do feel that is an absolute necessity to say that just in case somebody is reading this review before thinking about seeing this film. I saw this in IMAX, and it’s worthy of being shown in that format. But this is NOT a casual watch, and may require a pause and rewind button for you to keep up.
Okay. Now that that’s been said…
THE GOOD STUFF
MICHELLE F****** YEOH- Yeoh has been one of those actresses that’s been so good for so long. She is carried the water for many different individuals who have become (somewhat undeservedly) bigger stars than her. Yes, she has had a couple of movies in which she’s been the lead but nothing… And I mean absolutely mother******* nothing as insane as this role is. Everything an actor can do on screen Michelle Yeoh does in this film.
She is unlikable…and then lovable. She is next level glamorous…and then completely deconstructed via makeup and hairstyling. She is cowardly…and then a ferocious action hero, she is slapstick level hilarious…and in the third act of this movie…devastatingly powerful. It takes extreme levels of versatility to carry a movie as flat-out bizarre as this one. I’ve been watching her for decades now, and I still had no idea she was THIS good.
Also, if you didn’t already know Michelle Yeoh is one of the best action heroines of all time. When she does eventually break out the Kung-Fu a smile couldn’t help but to come to my face because she moves so fluidly. It is a beautiful thing to watch.
STEPHANIE HSU- Equally as impressive is the performance from Stephanie Hsu as the “villain” of the film Jobu Topaky. Though she doesn’t have to carry as much of the physical load as Yeoh does, a lot of the emotional gut punch of this film does come from her character. Hsu is VERY charismatic, and has a very radiant screen presence.
If this film weren’t so bizarre, and had more of a mainstream feel to it, I do feel Hsu would be quite possibly the breakout performance of 2022. She very may well be even still when it’s all said and done, given that people give this movie the chance that it deserves.
THE BAD STUFF
THE ENDING- This movie is 2 hours and 20 minutes. It’s kind of hard to imagine taking out anything up until the last 20 minutes of the film…for which you could probably take out half of THAT and still reach the emotional impact that it is going for.
Remember when you were watching LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING and there’s like FIVE different points where they could’ve realistically rolled the credits and it would all make sense.. but it keeps going and going? That is definitely the case here.
THE…STUFF I’M TRYING TO STILL DIGEST, AND HAVE SOMEWHAT VAGUE OPINIONS ON 18 HOURS LATER…STUFF
THE RULES OF THE UNIVERSE- This is a film that might require an entire subreddit to explain just how the rules of this universe go when it comes to gaining and losing powers, and how people’s personalities can change on the drop of a dime. It’s fun to follow as it goes along, but then you leave the theatre and your brain is like…
THE EDITING- The first act of this film is very creatively done. I’ll give it that. But at the middle of the first act, this editing gets hyperkinetic. So much so, that by the beginning of the second act you may still not know exactly what the story itself is. The story does eventually come around, and if you’re paying enough attention you will figure it out, but the constant cutting in and out between scenes that only have symbolic meaning to each other IN THE FIRST ACT OF THE MOVIE is a bit much. I respect this choice. But I don’t know if I like it yet.
THE COSTUMES AND CGI- I’m going to lump these two in together because they both kind of have the same issue. On many occasions you’ll find yourself looking at a beautifully shot scene with wonderful CGI and lavish costumes…only to cut directly to a scene with atrocious levels of both of those things. I’m not too sure if this is being done on purpose or not. But it’s super noticeable.
I REALLY like this film. I REALLY love the fact that it got made and it’s on an IMAX screen of all places, and I REALLY REALLY love what Michelle Yeoh does here and what may be the best performance in a film that I’ve seen in 2022. This is perhaps the most individually original film I’ve seen in a movie theater in years and years, and if you’re asking me personally what my review it is a 🤩
However, if I’m going to make a suggestion to a casual viewer whose attention span maybe… Iffy when it comes to sitting in one place in the dark for 2 hours and 20 minutes…I will not tell you to experience this right now.
Experience this whenever you can. It’s worthy of an experience. But prepare yourself.
EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE is playing in theaters now.