By Liv Barry
Elm Staff Writer
When asked to choose a film that encapsulates the 21st century, it might be difficult to think of a movie that captures the overarching feeling of doom throughout the century, stemming from nationalism in the wake of 9/11, the birth of social media, a global pandemic, and extreme sociopolitical unrest.
“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” the sophomore feature of directing duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, dives headfirst into the issues of modern life.
The story is painstakingly relevant, but does not shove current events in the audience’s face. There is no mention of COVID-19, little use of social media, and no exact date pinned to the film.
Instead of crafting a modern story through overt means, the Daniels replicate the overwhelming feeling of existing amid crisis through the film’s absurdist themes.
On paper, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” seems like another run-of-the-mill superhero movie. Produced by the Russo brothers, the minds behind “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame,” the film capitalizes off the popularity of the multiverse.
For those rare few who have never seen a Marvel movie, the multiverse is the idea that there are infinite universes where your existence differs from your current one. For more visual leaners, the concept was featured prominently In recent blockbuster hit, “Spiderman: No Way Home.”.
The Daniels also packed the film’s script with references to a range of different movies.
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” draws from a number of other films, including “The Matrix,” “Ratatouille,” “In the Mood for Love,” and Jackie Chan’s filmography.
While I do worry about the film holding up considering its countless pop culture references and the potty humor, the heart of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” anchors the film’s cultural permanence.
Amidst the chaos of its plot, the movie celebrates finding joy in the doom and gloom of everyday life.
The film also adeptly handles generational trauma, exploring how to go about forgiving our family and mending the fractures that it causes.
While these themes are topical in 2022, they are timeless issues that will be relevant for years to come.
Everything about the film — from the Bjork-esque costuming of the villain, to the abrupt aspect ratio changes, to the noisy score provided by electronic band Son Lux — is overwhelming in the best way possible.
The film immediately grabs the audience’s attention and holds onto it for its entire 140-minute runtime.
It’s overstimulating in a way that mirrors social media. While watching the film, I felt as if I was stuck scrolling on TikTok, assailed by bright colors and catchy sounds and unable to look away.
That’s not to say that it was an unpleasant viewing experience, however. For an audience living in the Internet age, overstimulation on such a large scale is normal. The maximalism of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” makes it perfectly suited to the senses of Gen Z and Millennials.
In fact, it’s difficult to come across an Internet user who dislikes this film.
In only the second week of its wide release, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” seems to be universally beloved. The film is currently the highest-rated movie on Letterboxd, and Twitter has been abuzz about the film since it premiered at the Sundance film festival this past winter.
I certainly hopped on the hype train, but I do implore you to go into this movie blind (after you finish reading this, of course).
“Everything Everywhere All t Once” is a magical experience, and if you go into the film without any foreknowledge of what you’re about to see, I am sure that it will impact your worldview as much as it impacted my own.
Photo courtesy of Flickr
Featured Photo Caption: “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is not Michelle Yeoh’s first major acting credit to include martial arts. Yeoh’s other credits include roles in films such as “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”