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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 22, 2022



MICHELLE YEOH is the most successful Asian actress working in Hollywood today as she’s always busy with film projects.  

She has starred in such hits as “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”, “Tomorrow Never Dies”, “Memoirs of a Geisha”, “The Mummy” and “Star Trek Discovery”. 

Recently, she did supporting roles in such hit films as “Crazy Rich Asians”, “Gunpowder Milkshake” and “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”, but now she plays the lead role in “Everything Everywhere All at Once”, directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, who have previously helmed the quirky absurdist comedy “Swiss Army Man”, where Daniel Radcliffe played a corpse that talks and farts. 

The film is divided into three parts. Part 1 is Everything, 2nd is Everywhere and 3rd is All At Once. Michelle plays Evelyn Wang, a Chinese American who owns a laundromat in California. 

She is so stressed as her business is being audited by Internal Revenue Services (IRS) Inspector Deirdre Baubeirdre (Jaime Lee Curtis), who thinks she’s cheating. 

Her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan, a Vietnamese who moved to the U.S. and became an actor) wants to divorce her, her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu, a Broadway actress) wants her to accept her being a lesbian, and her ailing father Gonggong (James Hong), who looks down on her husband and thinks it’s foolish of them to live in America, just arrived from China to stay with them. 

While being questioned by Deirdre at the IRS building, something strange happens to her husband Waymond. 

He claims to be a version of another Waymond who lives in the Alphaverse, which is just one of many parallel universes that exist. 

He says the multiverse is now under attack by Jobu Tupaki, a mean version of Evelyn’s daughter, Joy. Evelyn should help them to thwart Jobu’s evil intentions.

Jobu is nihilistic and has the power to verse-jump or travel to all the universes, can also manipulate things at her will and ha made a black hole that can eradicate all the multiverses. Evelyn learns to verse-jump and meets her other selves in the other universes. 

She is a martial arts expert in one, a big movie star in another, an Evelyn with fingers like hotdogs with Deirdre as her partner, a Chinese opera singer, a hibachi chef working with Harry Shum of “Glee” in yet another universe. 

This last one is a nod to “Ratatouille” and there’s another homage to Wong Kar Wai’s classic “In the Mood for Love”. 

Her husband Waymond is also successful in his other selves and thinks the laundromat Evelyn is the biggest failure among all the other Evelyns. 

But this is the very reason why she’s the one chosen to save the multiverse. The others are all so accomplished while she is the only one with an unfulfilled potential, which could mean a limitless possibility.

Her father Gonggong tells Evelyn to just kill Joy to stop Jobu Topaki but she says no and chooses to fight Jobu who is actually trying to destroy her own self because, for her, nothing really matters in the entire multiverse. 

How Evelyn manages to surmount all the obstacles hurled her way offers an explosive visual treat.  

It works because you feel for Evelyn as the central character. If her character is not sympathetic, then you’d have no one to root for. 

And Michelle Yeoh is simply amazing as Evelyn. This former beauty queen who represented Malaysia in the 1983 Miss World Pageant when she was only 20 years old, has really developed into a very astute and skilled actress.

She’s turning 60 on August 6 but you can see she still does her own action stunts. 

She acts with the right emotions and nuances that it’s quite captivating to watch her on screen.  

To say that this is a valid demo of her varied talents is an understatement. 

The range of her acting in playing so many characters is much wider than some of the work of actresses who have won an Oscar, but sadly, this kind of fantasy vehicle is not the type favored by the academy. 

She is ably supported by Quan, a former child actor in an Indiana Jones movie and in “The Goonies” who has not acted since 2002. He gives a goofy but heartfelt performance as  Michelle’s husband. 

Giving a rollicking performance is Jamie Lee Curtis as the IRS inspector, delightfully wacky in a number of scenes.

The movie itself is a dizzying ride with so many creative ideas and stimuli erupting in many colorful scenes. But despite the frenetic pacing, it manages to touch a deep chord in the viewer as it makes a connection on a human level. 

At the core of the narrative is the relationship between a mother and a daughter, and also a wife and her husband. 

By making the main villain a different version of her daughter Joy, Evelyn is made to face her own parenting mistakes and repairing her damaged relationship with her own daughter. 

In the end, there is a life-affirming message of acceptance, kindness and empathy, which turn out to be the very weapons against the destruction offered by Jobu and her minions.

The movie is, like “Doctor Strange”, grounded in the same concept of parallel realities, but Strange bored us and this one did not as it seems to understand more the bizarre concept of infinite states while you’re hovering in the wild realm of lucid dreaming and reality.