Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022, dir. Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan) is a smashing triumph, and the best and most creative film to hit theaters in a long while. Every element works. Its multiverse-hopping visuals are both grounded and dazzling. Its fight scenes make hilariously inventive use of mundane objects like staplers, goldfish bowls, fanny packs, and two deeply traumatizing Best Auditor trophies. Its leads—Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, and Ke Huy Quan, whose performance will go down in history as one of the best acting comebacks of all time—nail every punch and punchline. What delights me most, however, is how comfortably Everything sits within its hybrid identities and influences. It’s a genre-hopping visual feast. It volleys casually between English, Mandarin, and Cantonese in the same conversation. It invokes Ratatouille, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and classics by Wong Kar-wai all in the same breath—sometimes in the same kick.
Everything is not an Asian diaspora film obsessed with justifying or explaining itself as an Asian diaspora film. Everything does not spend time debating how Western or Eastern it should be—indeed, Everything does not consider diasporic tensions to be tensions at all. Everything is simply everything; and it arrives assuming, correctly, you’re down for the ride.