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Netflix Just Added the Century’s Most Innovative Sci-Fi Movie

Enter the bagel-verse.

Michelle Yeoh in 'Everything Everywhere All At Once'
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True originality is hard to come by these days, especially in movie theaters. Most new movies seem to follow the same old rules, and while that’s not necessarily bad, it’s become increasingly rare for a mainstream movie to feel unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

But that’s what happened when Everything Everywhere All At Once hit theaters in March 2022. The film, which became a minor cultural phenomenon and an unlikely Best Picture winner, is a maximalist sci-fi epic that defies all formal, narrative, and tonal expectations at practically every turn. It’s a pure, unfiltered example of writer-directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s (a.k.a. the Daniels) unique artistic vision, and now it’s streaming for the first time on Netflix.

At the center of Everything Everywhere All At Once is Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), the overwhelmed owner of a laundromat whose life is turned upside down when she’s given the ability to jump between universes by an alternate-reality version of her husband, Waymond (Ke Huy Quan). Evelyn is then informed that she alone has the power to stop a universe-destroying being known as Jobu Tupaki, who turns out to be a nihilistic variant of her daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu). As she fights to protect her family from the alternate universe beings that have come for her, Evelyn also finds herself exposed to all the other lives she could have lived.

Formally and narratively, Everything Everywhere All At Once uses its multiversal premise to pack itself full of stylistic flourishes. As Evelyn journeys through the multiverse, the Daniels introduce universes where everything is animated, people have hot dogs for fingers, and raccoons talk and cook. One of the movie’s most striking universes is designed to be reminiscent of Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai’s hyper-stylized, neon-lit romantic dramas. The Daniels use alternate realities to experiment wildly with practical effects, CGI, animation, action choreography, and editing.

The film’s lack of restraint made it the most original sci-fi thriller Hollywood had produced since The Matrix. The movie introduces plenty of ingenious sci-fi concepts, lays out the rules its “verse-jumping” heroes must follow, and manages to keep getting bigger and bigger without ever becoming a confusing slog. It does all of that while, like The Matrix, establishing its own visual language, pace, and style. Everything Everywhere All At Once doesn’t move or look like any other movie, and that’s an accomplishment in itself.

In a chaotic multiverse, all that matters are those we choose to hold onto.


Everything Everywhere All At Once is a gargantuan multiversal epic bursting with odd alternate realities that mostly takes place in an IRS office. It’s a genuinely hard-hitting action film in which its characters use fanny packs and dildos to defend themselves. It’s a movie that argues the universe is chaotic and uncaring while also arguing against the ever-alluring pull of nihilism. And while it’s about as enormous as a sci-fi adventure movie can get, it still emerges as a movingly intimate family drama.

These contradictions have all the makings of a classic “ambitious to a fault” mess, yet it all works. That’s partly due to the power of Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, and Stephanie Hsu’s versatile, heart-wrenching performances, which prevent the film from ever drifting too far from their characters’ shared story. From its very first shot of Waymond, Joy, and Evelyn singing together, Everything Everywhere All At Once remains firmly rooted in the struggles and connections that bind its core characters together.

In many ways, the film’s maximalism allows it to capture how numbing and overwhelming life in the 21st century can feel. However, by grounding itself in the Wong family’s story, Everything Everywhere All At Once doesn’t get lost in its plot, sci-fi mechanics, or the grand nature of its own style. Instead, the film successfully argues that the only way to live in a world that’s too big and busy for any of us to fully comprehend is to hold onto — and take care of — the relationships that give our lives meaning. That idea is both timeless and more important than ever, and the route Everything Everywhere All At Once takes to get to it is as surprising as it is entertaining.

Everything Everywhere All At Once is streaming on Netflix.

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