Punk Black Theatre: A Review of Everything Everywhere All at Once
by Drew Constantine
In Tao of Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee’s revered collection of his thoughts on martial arts philosophy and training, the legendary actor and kung fu sifu states: “Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. …. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” Lee’s instruction here can easily apply to grasping the concept of a multiverse, a modern scientific theory that proposes the existence of perhaps an infinite number of other universes much like our own. Some of these universes may mirror our own, possessing vastly different or similar versions of ourselves; some of them may be exactly like ours, except we may not exist in them at all. One’s existence within a multiverse is as a shapechanging chameleon – undefined – like water. Let your mind be free and fluid as we are now ready to discuss the endless creative brilliance that flows through this immediately classic film Everything Everywhere All at Once.
This is not the multiverse film you’re used to or expecting
Before taking a deep dive into the pool of great character studies on display in Everything Everywhere All at Once, it is worth noting that the concept of a multiverse or mirror verse for that matter is nothing new to science-fiction aficionados by any means. The mirror universe in Star Trek and the multiverse alluded to in Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home and Dr. Strange: Multiverse of Madness, all employ aspects of the sci-fi trope. However, Michelle Yeoh’s (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) portrayal of Chinese-American immigrant Evelyn Wang is something at once grounded, new, and fantastic. Yeoh is supported by a flood of acting talent that includes Stepanie Hsu (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) playing Evelyn’s daughter, Ke Huy Quan (The Goonies) as Evelyn’s husband, James Hong (Blade Runner) as Evelyn’s father, and an inspired turn by Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween) as an IRS inspector. It is ultimately the social dynamic expressed by the Wang family in this film that elevates Everything Everywhere All at Once far beyond your traditional sci-fi fare.
What make’s the film so special?
The directing by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinart (collectively known as Daniels) is a dizzying array of kinetic martial arts choreography, crazy and wonderful soundtrack editing, celestial cinematography, inventive effects, and a superbly written script with an infinite amount of soul. The previous allusion to the importance of the Wang family’s interaction with each other is at the heart of this film which explores divorce, young gay relationships, the struggle between different generations, and the challenges of immigrants trying to make it in America just like everyone else. It fulfills the promise of a new wave of films that highlight the unique perspective of Asian-centric cinema in Hollywood. Does that sound like a lot? It is. It’s so much that for some brief and beautiful moments in the film, amidst all the madness, you can almost forget that Evelyn Wang is jumping through a million dimensions and is in reality just a simple woman trying to save her family and laundromat. It’s soft. It’s loud. It’s big. It’s small. It is indeed Everything Everywhere All at Once. Let its waves of brilliance break on the shores of your mind. Be like water.
I love you all,
Be Bad. Be Punk. Be Black.
(FB- Drew Constantine) (Insta– catchconstantine)
(Everything Everywhere All at Once is now playing at a theatre near you.)
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