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“Everything Everywhere All At Once” still triumphs a year later

A look back at last year’s favorite of the Academy and America

Arthur Michelstetter

Editor-in-Chief of Verbatim

February 12, 2024

Hot dog! - Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) goes to a universe where everyone has sausage fingers.

More often are movies easily separated into different categories and genres, and people can usually tell what type of movie they would like, or relate to. We also tend to latch onto certain narratives—we like courtroom dramas or teenage coming-of-age stories but “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” true to its name, effectively takes shape as an all-encompassing film. The story, and Michelle Yeoh’s performance especially, uniquely reach every single audience. Furthermore, the film makes use of incredible cinematography and crafted, complex writing to make an impressionable and unforgettable epic. As Oscar season is coming up, let’s take a look back at the film that swept the 2023 Academy Awards.

The underlying narratives of the story interact in very powerful ways to create conflict and build tension between Evelyn and Joy. Evelyn’s glaring ADHD and Joy’s struggle with depression are perpetually at the heart of their mother-daughter relationship, and the resulting suspense is palpable. Michelle Yeoh’s performance of Evelyn draws out the frustration. Yeoh masterfully controls her microexpressions and contributes to the fast pace of the non-action scenes.

The pace of the movie is also very effectively controlled, in line with Evelyn’s tumultuous thoughts. The music features staccato sound effects, and the ringing noises that play while Evelyn is in the middle of her thoughts are a very nice touch. The fast pace immerses the audience fully into the movie—every time I watch it I feel like I'm watching VR—and since the movie truly does discuss Everything, the entire experience doesn’t feel like only 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Sometimes the movie does slow down, though. During the scenes where Evelyn lives out her alternate life as a famous Kung Fu star, the glamor and stand-out fashion bring me to tears every time I watch it. Even though most would describe fame as a stressful thing, the soft dialogue and lack of awareness of surroundings make life feel serene, which is what it is to Evelyn.

When I rewatch Ke Huy Quan’s (Waymond’s) acceptance speech at the Oscars for Supporting Actor, it’s hard to feel like he’s not acting again. His performance involved playing so many characters that he does not seem like a real person anymore like he carries the weight of multiple lives. I don’t know, that’s kind of far-fetched, but that’s certainly the result of being part of a movie this all-encompassing.

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