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Film of the Week: Everything Everywhere All At Once

MARIA DUARTE is awestruck by a psychedelic sci-fi adventure about a Chinese-American immigrant trying to keep body and soul together as she goes about saving the world

Everything Everywhere All At Once (15)
Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert

 

IT ISN’T the easiest of titles to remember, but you won’t forget this psychedelic, mind-blowingly bonkers sci-fi adventure with hidden social and philosophical depths. An exhausted middle-aged Chinese-American immigrant battles a family drama, tries to keep her laundrette business afloat along with her marriage and tackles generational divides while being propelled through multidimensional universes (Marvel, watch and learn) in order to save the world. Or it’s just about a woman trying to do her taxes while being hounded by an officious jobs-worth of an IRS agent (played brilliantly by Jamie Lee Curtis).

It’s all of those things and so much more, but equally difficult to quantify and categorise — one of the most ingenious, innovative and surprising films in a very long time; it is also funny and terribly moving while proving an endless visual assault on the senses, tricky to keep up with at times.

Written and directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert — known as “the Daniels” apparently — it stars the tour de force that is Michelle Yeoh as the long-suffering Evelyn Wang, the reluctant saviour who travels through past lives (including one where she has long sausage fingers) she might have led in order to obtain the skill set (including killer martial arts techniques) to save everyone from an evil force which has taken over her lesbian daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu).

At the same time about to be served divorce papers by her husband (Ke Huy Quan from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), she reflects on the rich and successful worry-free life she could have led if she hadn’t married at a young age.

Yeoh is truly amazing in a role, which shows off all her extraordinary acting abilities, both comic and dramatic, with kick-ass kung fu moves to boot. She is a class act as this immigrant woman facing a mid-life crisis (or not) as she desperately tries to juggle numerous balls and keep her head above water while getting no help from her family.

Exquisitely acted, this is an insane, multilayered film which will keep you guessing until the very end but, which needs to be seen on the big screen, possibly more than once.

In cinemas May 13

 

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