Top Ten Movies of 2022 — Number Two

There is so much happening in Everything Everywhere All at Once that the premise that partnered filmmakers Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert might ever make another feature together almost defies belief. What ideas, themes, gags, and sparks of narrative invention could they possibly have left? In telling the tall tale of laundromat proprietor Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh, completely marvelous in the role) discovering a brain-bending bonanza of alternate realities and moving back and forth between them like lanes on an impossibly wide superhighway, the duo preside over martial arts mayhem, giddy slapstick, ludicrous bathroom humor, and science fiction invention that could almost rouse a grumble of admiration from Philip K. Dick. The film’s vast ambition almost guarantees imperfections. Taking nothing but big swings often means some mighty misses, but the Daniels’ overall slugging percentage in Everything Everywhere All at Once is astonishingly high. The most impressive aspect of the film is all the kinetic inspiration is grounded in deep, heartfelt emotion. Whatever else the film is, it is first and most forcibly about family. All the zigging and zagging circles around what it is to be a wife, a mother, a daughter. It is about shift about wrenching free of damaging family cycles and finding the treasures within one’s own existence, no matter how tantalizing the gleaming baubles of distant unmet dreams might be. As much as Yeoh and her fellow cast standouts — particularly Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu — dazzle with their ability to shift across wildly different personae, nothing hits so hard as the moments locked deeply into the pains and minor triumphs of the core interpersonal relationships on the screen. The costumes, the art direction, the editing, the cinematography, the shot selection, and snapping dialogue are all exemplary. What Kwan and Scheinert plainly assert is that all of it in ultimately in service of the characters, the people moving through their story. They’re truly everything.

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