When Swiss Army Man came out in 2016, lots of buzz swirled around the concept of Daniel Radcliffe playing a somewhat animated corpse that could propel himself across a body of water via farting. It was such the focus of any discussion of Swiss Army Man that Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s tender message about self-love and belief might have gotten drowned out by, well, farts.
That said, that would prove a good blueprint for Daniels (the moniker by which Kwan and Scheinert go with as a duo) as to do something, arguably, more ambitious with an arguably wilder story that happens to include a parallel universe where everyone has hot dog fingers. That movie would be the brilliant, delightfully bonkers, strangely sweet opus Everything Everywhere All at Once.
There are so many multitudes of facets to the story of the movie itself (that’s what happens when dealing with the multiverse) that it’s somehow even more ridiculous than last year’s demented fairy tale Cannes Palme D’or winner Titane. Any attempt at a detailed explanation of Michelle Yeoh trying to save her family and all of the multiverse via some sort of Sense8-ish ability might take away from the visceral experience of seeing the Daniels’ maximalist vision about staying present and loving people for who they are. We want you to truly have as much of that experience that those well worn movie review descriptors (captivating, engrossing, unlike anything you’ve seen before) always promise, but often come up short on.
Instead, we’ll say that there is a child like wonder that gets the exquisite touch and precision of seasoned filmmakers and visionaries, Daniels. There’s a hope and grandiose vision from them (expertly executed from the principal cast of Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, and Jamie Lee Curtis) that reminds of us of the sort unlimited potential of imagination that we personally had in film school, but was ultimately tempered by the many tightly fitted cogs that run Tinseltown. They achieve truly heartfelt moments that are accented by plastic googly eyes and the aforementioned hot dog fingers while jumping in and out of highly choreographed, intricate fight scenes. If you wonder what the magic of the movies looks like in 2022, this is it.
It’s almost as if Daniels threw everything at the wall and everything stuck because it was all worth keeping in. At almost 2 1/2 hours, the trip fantastic that Everything Everywhere All at Once takes you on will remind you why we go to the movies (even better than Nicole Kidman’s maudlin AMC theatrical pre-roll spot).
Lastly, awards season could take a great step forward if Everything Everywhere All at Once becomes a legitimate contender. Comedies, genre movies, and Asian representation are often severely lacking when it comes to major movie awards and, at this juncture right now, but this is more than just about optics. If Best Picture is supposed to really mean Best Picture, there shouldn’t be any tinge of the oft-satirized idea of “Oscar Bait” anymore.
We could go on and on about how the movie is an equally satisfying balance of genre and tone that has bits of Tarantino, Wong Kar Wai, Airplane, but, truly, it’s something to behold for yourself (hopefully, in a movie theater). Everything Everywhere All at Once is playing in select theaters and expanding this weekend to major U.S. cities and then theaters everywhere starting Apr. 8th.