Everything Everywhere All at Once is one of the best films I have ever seen. I watched it twice this week. It made me cry both times. I can’t wait to watch it again.
The best films—especially science fiction films (that’s what people call Everything Everywhere All at Once, though it defies categorization)—are about something much more profound than they are about on the surface. I watched it with my son a few nights ago and thought he would love its quirkiness and visual artistry. He said it “made his head hurt” because it was “all over the place.” He said it reminded him of Big Trouble in Little China.
Now that I think about it, I can see why Everything feels like a jumbled mess to my 17-year-old. He hasn’t been married for over 20 years. He doesn’t have teenagers. He lacks two life experiences that are central to the film’s meaning. I mentioned it to my wife, and she agreed—you must be married and have kids (and have struggled with both) to understand the movie’s heart. You need to have lived a while and experienced the twists and turns that make you think, “what if I had chosen a different path?” for Everything’s scenes to strike your heart. It’s about things my son hasn’t yet experienced (years of taxes and laundry being two of them).
It’s a brilliant film that’s best seen through eyes that know what it looks like to love, lose, and mourn all those “wrong” choices. We each only get one path. One “go” at life. Exploring the “what if’s” of our past decisions provides enlightening insights and context. But in a multiverse of possibilities, the experiences we’ve felt firsthand produce meaning because we lived them.