By IZUMI HASEGAWA
The sci-fi action-comedy “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” which uses the idea of the multiverse (multiple parallel worlds), a current trend in the film industry, was a hit. It had a long theatrical run and has since started streaming. And now, it has just been re-released theatrically with previously unseen footage. The film has already reached almost $100 million at the box office, and is the highest-grossing film of the up-and-coming distributor A24.
The heroine, Evelyn, is played by Michelle Yeoh, a leading Asian action actress. As a former dancer, her kung fu action is sharp, elegant, and beautiful. The film fully captures her prowess.
Ke Huy Quan, who plays Evelyn’s husband Waymond, was a popular child actor from his roles in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “The Goonies.” In Japan, he was so popular that a fan club was made for him. Appearing on camera for the first time in a while, he performed multiple versions of Waymond excellently and with cute charm, reminiscent of Jackie Chan.
The story revolves around Evelyn, a hard-working yet exhausted middle-aged woman who fights to defeat evil by linking her consciousness to her alternate selves across worlds, or “verses,” to gain unique skills. Upon learning that her alternate selves have each walked a different path in life, she comes face-to-face with the ideas of what could have been had she taken different choices throughout her life. Along with her, we, the audience, learn of the infinite possibilities of the worlds of “what if…”
In recent years, Marvel Studios, which has created box-office hit after hit (such as the Avengers series), has succeeded with using the idea of the multiverse. However, the multiversal scenarios of those superheroes seem otherworldly. This story of a middle-aged Asian woman experiencing the multiverse is relatable. This film has audiences reflecting on their own personal lives, with questions such as “If I hadn’t married this person at that time…” spurred on by the introduction of alternate “verses.”
By peeking into the lives of alternate selves who had taken a different road in the turning points of her life, it makes us as the audience, along with Evelyn, contemplate whether our lives are a “success” or a “failure.” We realize that whether we view our lives as a “success” or a “failure” largely depends on our own subjective point of view. One person’s “successful life” may be another’s “failure.”
Evelyn, a Chinese American, was having a terrible day. While her strict father has come over to stay, she faces an audit over the laundromat she owns with her husband, Waymond. On her way to their meeting with an IRS agent, her husband suddenly changes his personality, confessing, “I’m not your husband, at least not that one you know. I’m another version of him, from another life path, another universe. I’m here because we need your help.” While she doubts him, a dire situation quickly unfolds in front of her very eyes and she uses the kung fu techniques of herself from another “verse” to fight off opponents one after another until …
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is now available on Prime Video, Apple TV+ and more. It returned to theaters with additional footage on July 29.
English translation by Hana Umemoto (Hollywood News Wire Inc.)