WHAT I LIKED: Unlike a certain recent multiverse movie, Daniel Kwan and Scheinert's 'Everything Everywhere All at Once,' masterfully uses its crazy alternate realities concept like Pixar used its taking toys - to test and explore a bunch of engaging characters and themes.
Things all kick off when we meet an ordinary Korean woman called Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) beset with very simple, domestic stresses surrounding her desire to impress her father and make money. Her launderette is in trouble with the taxwoman (Jamie Lee Curtis), her husband (Ke Huy Quan) wants a divorce, and she's at loggerheads with her belligerent and depressed daughter (Stephanie Hsu), so everything seems pretty normal. Pretty quickly though she starts being introduced to a bunch of different versions of her life via trips across the multiverse - from one reality where she and her husband are famous in Hollywood but not yet in love, to one where her and the taxwoman are married, have hot dogs for hands, and play the piano with their feet. That may sound utterly absurd (and, believe me, it's not even the half of it) but what's so genius about the idea is that - as seems to be the way with many contemporary Korean dramas - it's not just being off the wall for the shits and gigs; its crazy ideas exist primarily as a way of exploring some real conflicts at their limits.
For one, it works to do that because the different realities enable Evelyn to see all her hopes and dreams realised in comparison to the "worst version of herself," that she supposedly lives in now. But beyond that, the central vehicle of the plot is actually that she's called by her alternate husband to stop her alternate daughter from destroying the multiverse because "everything means nothing," and will end regardless. She starts by fighting her (through the membrane of various martial arts techniques and universe hopping) but slowly learns to let love trump all other concerns from her optimistic alternate husbands, and to accept her daughter's way of thinking to convince her it doesn't need to end even if everything is trivial and lacking meaning.
It doesn't take a genius to work out that that's all one big allegory not only about her relationship with her daughter and husband, but also about accepting that although the everyday is trivial (especially in the cavernous expense of the multiverse), it's still worth enjoying when you've got people you love. That's a thoroughly heartwarming thematic and character arc to watch, and the fact it's executed through the membrane of such an absurd narrative concept simply doesn't matter because the character conflicts are convincing (a fact aided by some brilliantly committed performances) and because the script also, mercifully, never attempts to explain the logic of it. If you don't think it and just feel it, you'll undoubtedly be engaged from start to finish.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: There is the odd moment, particularly in the middle act, where the multiverse concept is overindulged to the point of gimmickry. But the heart quickly kicks in again to stop that becoming a real problem.
VERDICT: 'Everything Everywhere All at Once,' brilliantly uses its multiverse concept to test a character's relationships and approach to life. The result is both crazy and wonderfully heartwarming.