(Photo by A24/ courtesy Everett Collection)
If you recently fell in love with some multiverse madness (sorry Doctor Strange, you just got upstaged), here are 17 more movies like Everything Everywhere All At Once that share some cinematic DNA in their stories, themes, and stars and artists.
An easy, slightly sloppy way to describe Everything Everywhere All At Once is that it’s like The Matrix filtered through the demented mind prism of the guys who made Swiss Army Man. For that 2016 movie, people came for the farting corpse of Daniel Radcliffe, but stayed for the left-field feels. This sincere blend of pathos and the absurd has been the early signature of directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, aka Daniels, and they crank it to maximum heat for Everything Everywhere. Daniels are open about The Matrix’s influence on their movie, and like the 1999 sci-fi classic, they transform a mundane hero (Michelle Yeoh’s Evelyn Wang, just trying to do her taxes) into a vessel for conjuring alternate realities, personalities, and philosophies to undercut modern-day nihilism.
Yeoh calls the role “something I’ve been waiting for, for a long time.” It’s a statement that’s at first surprising considering how long and successful her movie career has been, but then sad considering all the opportunities that have likely vanished for even a legendary Asian actress in her 50s. Everything Everywhere encourages viewers to explore Yeoh’s filmography. Check out Hong Kong action classic Supercop, in which she holds her own with Jackie Chan; Supercop 2, where Yeoh takes the lead; and international breakthrough Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Ke Huy Quan co-stars as Evelyn’s husband Waymond in his first major role in 20 years after exiting the industry for lack of work. Audiences know him as Data from The Goonies and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’s Short Round. Naturally, Daniels include callbacks: Quan repeats the “very funny” line he says often in Temple and, like Data, gets a lot of mileage out of a fanny pack. But beyond the jokes, Quan absolutely crushes it in Evelyn’s movie star universe as a dramatic romantic figure. These aching, misty neon scenes are an ode to Wong Kar Wai’s films, especially In the Mood for Love and 2046.
Incidentally, Quan was an assistant director on 2046, and did behind-the-scenes action work on The One. That 2001 Jet Li movie is also about different realities clashing together for some ridiculous fun. More multiverse romps include Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the Jared Leto romantic fantasy Mr. Nobody, and the sprawling Cloud Atlas.
Nestled within Everything Everywhere are themes of intergenerational trauma and families broken by emotional and physical distances. Even basic communication becomes an ordeal, highlighted by how Evelyn speaks Cantonese to her father, Mandarin to her husband, and Chinglish to her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu). Joy’s sexuality is a source of conflict in the film, and more of that can be seen in Alice Wu’s 2004 comedy Saving Face, a dramedy about a young lesbian Chinese-American who’s estranged from her 49-year-old mother until one day she shows up pregnant. Meanwhile, the 2018 Oscar-nominated documentary Minding the Gap is among the most quietly powerful explorations of the generation gap, centered on three young skaters (one Asian-American) growing up in the Rust Belt.
But maybe you’re just here for the wild antics and action sequences, like Everything Everywhere’s infamous trophy fight. Brothers Andy and Brian Le play the aggressors in that scene, and they’re also the movie’s fight choreographers. The two make appearances in recent action-comedy The Paper Tigers, about three middle-aged former martial arts prodigies who must avenge their sifu. And Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which features the best fights in the MCU, almost feels like a nexus universe point, featuring the Le brothers (Andy played Death Dealer, Brian worked on stunts), Yeoh (she plays Shang-Chi’s aunt), Hsu (part of the incredulous married couple who’s friends with Shang-Chi and Katy), and Tony Leung, who starred in In the Mood for Love.
Adjusted Score: 88994%
Critics Consensus: It may be too “dark” for some, but Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom remains an ingenious adventure spectacle that showcases one of Hollywood’s finest filmmaking teams in vintage form.
Adjusted Score: 79602%
Critics Consensus: The Goonies is an energetic, sometimes noisy mix of Spielbergian sentiment and funhouse tricks that will appeal to kids and nostalgic adults alike.
Adjusted Score: 98781%
Critics Consensus: Blending hand-to-hand combat with breathtaking stunts and slapstick comedy, Supercop reminds us why Jackie Chan is one of the world’s great entertainers.
Adjusted Score: 93930%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to the Wachowskis’ imaginative vision, The Matrix is a smartly crafted combination of spectacular action and groundbreaking special effects.
Adjusted Score: 102807%
Critics Consensus: The movie that catapulted Ang Lee into the ranks of upper echelon Hollywood filmmakers, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon features a deft mix of amazing martial arts battles, beautiful scenery, and tasteful drama.
Adjusted Score: 95079%
Critics Consensus: This understated romance, featuring good performances by its leads, is both visually beautiful and emotionally moving.
Adjusted Score: 16082%
Critics Consensus: The One plays more like a video game than a movie and borrows freely from other, better sci-fi actioners, burying Jet Li’s spectacular talents under heaps of editing and special effects.
Adjusted Score: 90886%
Critics Consensus: Director Wong Kar-Wai has created in 2046 another visually stunning, atmospheric, and melancholy movie about unrequited love and loneliness.
Adjusted Score: 89246%
Critics Consensus: A charming tale of a love affair that overcomes cultural taboos.
Adjusted Score: 67411%
Critics Consensus: Mr. Nobody‘s narrative tangles may bedevil as much as they entertain, but its big ambitions and absorbing visuals make for an intriguing addition to director Jaco Van Dormael’s filmography.
Adjusted Score: 78189%
Critics Consensus: Its sprawling, ambitious blend of thought-provoking narrative and eye-catching visuals will prove too unwieldy for some, but the sheer size and scope of Cloud Atlas are all but impossible to ignore.
Adjusted Score: 85409%
Critics Consensus: Disarmingly odd and thoroughly well-acted, Swiss Army Man offers adventurous viewers an experience as rewarding as it is impossible to categorize.
Adjusted Score: 121560%
Critics Consensus: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse matches bold storytelling with striking animation for a purely enjoyable adventure with heart, humor, and plenty of superhero action.
Adjusted Score: 107065%
Critics Consensus: Minding the Gap draws on more than a decade of documentary footage to assemble a poignant picture of young American lives that resonates far beyond its onscreen subjects.
Adjusted Score: 100586%
Critics Consensus: The Paper Tigers blends action, comedy, and heart to produce a fresh martial arts movie with plenty of throwback charm.
Adjusted Score: 109457%
Critics Consensus: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings isn’t entirely free of Marvel’s familiar formula, but this exciting origin story expands the MCU in more ways than one.