Reel Corner - April 2023
80 for Brady
April 2023 Issue
Reel Corner by Donne Paine
And the Winner Is...
All At Once
Walking away with seven Academy Awards, Everything Everywhere All At Once surprised the crowd by winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.
If you are not familiar with the film, it is loosely described as when an interdimensional rupture unravels reality, and an unlikely hero must channel her newfound powers to fight bizarre and bewildering dangers from the multiverse as the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively known as the Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once is a sci-fi action adventure about an exhausted Chinese American woman who can’t seem to finish her taxes.
The Academy has shied away from acknowledging sci-fi movies in the past. Not since Star Wars and Gravity has a science-fiction film been touted as a best picture. The dimension hopping, multiverse film is getting congratulations for that, as well.
The film takes an emotional, philosophical, and deeply weird trip through the looking glass into the multiverse as it discovers metaphysical wisdom along the way. In this love letter to sci-fi genre cinema, Michelle Yeoh gives a great performance as Evelyn Wang, a weary owner of a laundromat under IRS audit.
We first meet her enjoying a happy moment with her husband, Waymond, (Ke Huy Quan) and their daughter, Joy, (Stephanie Hsu). We see their smiling faces reflected in a mirror on their living room wall. As the camera literally zooms through the mirror, Evelyn’s smile fades, now seated at a table awash with business receipts. She’s preparing for a meeting with an auditor, while simultaneously trying to cook food for their Chinese New Year party and a visit from her father. On top of juggling her father’s visit and the tax audit, her daughter wants to invite her girlfriend to the New Year’s party, and her husband wants to talk about the state of their marriage. Just as Evelyn begins to feel overwhelmed by everything happening in her life, she is visited by another version of her husband from what he calls the “Alpha verse.” There humans have learned to “verse jump” and are threatened by an omniverse agent of chaos known as Jobu Tupaki.
Soon Evelyn is thrust into a universe-hopping adventure that has her questioning everything she thought she knew about her life—her failures and love of her family. Most of the action is set in an IRS office building in Simi Valley where Evelyn must battle IRS agent Deirdre Beaubeirdre (Jamie Lee Curtis), a troop of security guards, and possibly everyone else she’s ever met. The production designer crafted a seemingly endless cubicle-filled office, where everything from the blade of a paper trimmer to various other office materials, become fair game as weapons to help survive the universe.
The Reel Corner tried its best to engage with this film, but I can honestly say, I found the film confusing and disturbing.
A little heartwarming backstory: Ke Huy Quan, the actor who won the Best Supporting Actor award, played the character Short Round as a young boy with Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). It was great to see them together at the Academy Awards to celebrate Ke Huy Quan’s journey as an actor.
Everything Everywhere All at Once can be streamed on Showtime and Paramount Plus.
References: www.imbd.com, www.nyt.com, www.yahoo.com, www.space.com
Donne Paine, film enthusiast, once lived around the corner from the Orson Wells Theater in Cambridge, Massachu-setts, where her strong interest in films, especially independent ones, began. Supporter of the arts, especially films, she has traveled to local and national film festivals including Sundance, Toronto and Tribeca. There is nothing like seeing a film on the big screen. She encourages film goers to support Hilton Head local theaters, Park Plaza Theater and Northridge. To support her habit of frequent movie going, Donne is a vaccine medicine nurse consultant and also the author of 4 Interview Pillars available on Amazon. See you at the movies!