Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022)

Directors: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert

Running Time: 139 Minutes

Certification: 15

Starring: Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, James Hong, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tallie Medel, Jenny Slate, Harry Shum Jr., Biff Wiff

After a career directing short films and music videos, writer-director duo Daniels (made up of Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) brought their boundless imagination to the big screen with 2016's Swiss Army Man, which told a heartwarming story about life's beauty while Daniel Radcliffe played a farting corpse. The Daniels' sophomore directorial feature takes their unchained creativity, and operates it on a larger scale to leaves audiences breathless and amazed.

Dissatisfied laundromat owner Evelyn Quan Wang (Michelle Yeoh) is trying to deal with an IRS tax audit, while navigating familial troubles. These issues feel small when her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) tells Evelyn she's the multiverse's last hope, and must utilise the skills from her alternate lives to stop an entity intent on destroying everything.

There's much ground to cover across the 139-minute runtime, although the brisk pacing ensures what could feel laborious and inaccessible flies by in astounding ways. Key to it is how this multiverse is built through such varying ideas, from wish fulfilment to absolute silliness, and treats them all with the same level of sincerity. This is a film which which has its cake and eats it, recognising the humour in building tension with chapstick and utilising the most unbelievable choice of weapons, while also delivering such excellent fight choreography.

The differing universe each feel varied and distinctive, as different visual styles and genres are brought together thanks to masterful editing and an exceptional score by Son Lux. This is a fully formed piece of imaginative creation, with inspirations ranging from cinephile favourites to YouTube videos given the same amount of thrills and heartfelt emotion.

Despite spanning the multiverse, what keeps this tale grounded is the warm-hearted emotion. The cast readily delivers whatever is required of them, pouring such humanity into their roles, and that's absolutely clear in Michelle Yeoh's masterful performance. An expansive montage captures Evelyn's life, as she made difficult decisions building towards a life which dissatisfies her, and Yeoh exceptionally embodies this woman who carries such regret and generational trauma. Hollywood has notably been lacking in giving Yeoh substantial roles, and this starring role is the final say on why that's ridiculous.

After not acting since 2002, Ke Huy Quan returns to the big screen to play Waymond, Evelyn's meek husband. A man who puts his energy into being kind and trying to put smiles on everyone's faces, Waymond is the films emotional heart and is brought alive by one of the year's best performances, courtesy of the man who was formerly Short Round. Here's hoping this will lead to more acting opportunities for Quan. Adding support is Stephanie Hsu bringing her role alive so vividly, as a daughter that just wants her mum to see her for who she is, and Jamie Lee Curtis having a blast.

The films real strength lies in its beating heart, something as evident throughout as googly eyes. It's easy to dwell on past regrets and fears, although it's worth remembering the importance of formed connections and what's worth holding onto. In the face of nihilism, Daniels combat it with Paddington levels of kindness making for an utterly tender experience. What's left is a natural evolution of the Turn Down For What music video Daniels directed, and one of the decades best films.

Everything Everywhere All At Once is available in UK Cinemas from May 13th