“EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE” is exhausting and disappointing science fiction

I completely do not share the ubiquitous praises and accolades for ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’. A great beginning leads to a chaotic finale.


19 February 2024


From time to time, there emerges a work (film, book, comic, video game…) that seems to defy the jaded assertions of critics that “everything has already been done,” proving that not everything has been done yet, and the creativity of creators can still surprise. At the beginning of the screening of “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” a title that caused quite a stir at the 2023 Oscars, I thought it confirmed this thesis. I was delighted, and comparisons with “The Matrix” even came to mind. Not in terms of content, but rather in terms of potential impact on pop culture and overall freshness. I shared the enthusiasm of viewers and critics alike, eagerly anticipating what the screenwriters had in store for the rest of the film.

However, when the closing credits appeared on screen, I realized that my personal feelings hadn’t differed much from the general consensus about the film for a long time. Ultimately, I don’t completely share the ubiquitous praises and accolades for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Yet, I don’t consider it horribly bad either; it’s just that some plot twists, gags, or even individual sequences render the whole experience less enjoyable for me.


The concept of the film itself I dare to call fantastic (in both senses of the word). Here, the characters live in our contemporary reality, but the creators slowly provide the viewer with clues that not everything is as it seems. At first, these are just fleeting glimpses, but we quickly become immersed in the plot, and together with the main character, Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh), we begin to discover the rules governing the depicted world. As a result, what initially seems like a mundane story about an immigrant family struggling with financial problems gives the impression of being just a pretext to tell a much larger, almost epic tale. Everything here works as it should; the intrigue draws you in, and the screenwriters skillfully reveal their cards.

Unfortunately, at some point, there are jokes at the level of kindergarten and elementary school. In an early Jackie Chan film (who, by the way, was considered for the lead role), there was a scene in a Chinese martial arts school. One of the elderly masters had a wart on his cheek from which hair grew. And he played a melody on it (sic!). Here, we find similarly inventive “pranks”: reviving a faint person with a shoe removed a moment earlier from someone’s foot, two men fighting with anal plugs dangling from their behinds, hot dog fingers (great idea, but executed exceptionally distastefully)… Well, these jokes reach the heights of humor and good taste, and these antics are Leonardo da Vinci among gags. In the latter part of the film, it’s just total confusion, a riot of colors, frenetic scenes, and lots of substances, but little substance.

But it would be unfair to solely attack and criticize “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” because there are also many good things here. The initial idea, some concepts (like the scene with the stones, the first appearance of Alfa Waymond) border on genius. The actors also give their all – Michelle Yeoh, known for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” as well as action cinema, and former Bond girl, proves that she has dramatic potential. In supporting roles, the venerable James Hong (“Big Trouble in Little China”) and Jamie Lee Curtis shine, the latter fantastically playing the role of a bored tax office clerk. And Ke Huy Quan, who made a fantastic comeback to cinema. As a child, he starred in the second part of Indiana Jones and the cult classic “The Goonies,” then wandered somewhere on the outskirts of Hollywood, and now fate has given him a second chance (he can put a Golden Globe and an Oscar on his shelf). Moreover, the actor seems to be an ordinary, modest guy.


“Everything Everywhere All at Once” (what an apt title!) is bursting at the seams. A great beginning leads to a chaotic finale. And even if it was supposed to be a metaphor for what happens in the mind of a rebellious teenager, the whole thing is just tiresome and ultimately quite disappointing.

Written by Piotr Zymelka



We're movie lovers who write for other movie lovers!

See other posts from this author >>>