Everything Everywhere All At Once is an impressive viewing experience. The scope and scale and insanity of the story can leave the first-time viewer’s head spinning. We’re talking multiverses, elaborate action sequences, and movie references galore. But nestled within that is a very familiar drama about a woman with trauma and the ways it’s hurting her husband and daughter. It’s an emotional journey that has left plenty of people in tears.
If you liked having such a whirlwind experience, you might be wondering what other movies you should watch. Well, I have a list for you. The first recommendations is just a “You need to watch this if you never have” kind of thing. I’m guessing a lot of you have already seen it. If so, jump to #2!
1. The Matrix (1999)
Everything Everywhere All At Once owes pretty much its entire concept to The Matrix. Multiple worlds. Instantly downloading skills. When you look at Alpha Waymond in the Alphaverse, with his head set on and computer people guiding him, it looks like a scene from a Matrix fan film. The parallels are there from the beginning all the way to the end. It’s the kind of homage that I think every filmmakers wishes they could make at some point in their careers. Familiar enough to be a homage, special enough to stand on its own two feet. But watch The Matrix if you’ve never watched The Matrix.
2. Cloud Atlas (2012)
While a lot of the Everything Everywhere premise comes from The Matrix, the actual structure of the film is really reminiscent of Cloud Atlas. Funny enough, it’s by the same sibling duo, the Wachowskis, who wrote and directed The Matrix. Based on a David Mitchel novel of the same name, Cloud Atlas is a tale that takes place in multiple individual universes that all tie-together in the end. Except the universes are just various years. 1849, 1936, 1973, 2012, 2144, and 2321. The same actors play different characters in each year. So Tom Hanks is a doctor in 1849, a hotel manager in 1936, and so on and so forth. And the movie jumps between time frames, in such a way where you start to see the consequences of certain actions, how something in 1849 ripples all the way into 2321. It’s bold, daring, and epic in a way that Everywhere fans might enjoy.
3. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
This is not your typical rom-com. Based on a graphic novel, this Edgar Wright directed film sees Scott Pilgrim have to fight his way through the ex-boyfriends of his new love interest, Ramona Flowers. Each victory brings him closer to dating this girl of his dreams. But it’s madness. The movie is frenetic and moves from the sensibilities of a graphic novel to video-game-like battles. It has the same chaotic energy Everything Everywhere brings to the table. Jobu Tupaki feels like she could appear in Scott Pilgrim and be the perfect fit. The final fight is also appropriately outrageous yet existential.
4. The Farewell (2019)
Nothing crazy here. Just simple family drama. The Farewell finds a Chinese-American protagonist, Billi (Awkwafina), at odds with her family. Her grandmother has terminal lung cancer but no one in the family will tell her. Billi struggles with what to do. Does she trust her instinct to be honest with her grandmother? Or listen to her family and spare Nai Nai (Zhao Shu-zshen) the grief of the diagnosis? There’s arguments, revelations of family history, and, ultimately, catharsis. If you want to cry, this will make you cry.
5. The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
If The Farewell was a positive example of dealing with generational trauma, The Place Beyond the Pines is the negative. The story starts in 1995 and focuses on Luke and Avery and the fateful day that brings them into conflict. It picks up in 2012 and you follow the children, Jason and A.J., and see the lingering affects of their fathers’ histories. It’s a bleak tale. Slow-burning. Heavy. But, like The Farewell and Everything Everywhere, purifying.
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Eternal Sunshine is one of those movies that sticks in your brain for a long time. Leave it to the duo of director Michel Gondry and writer Charlie Kaufmann to deliver something as bizarre as it is powerful. Eternal Sunshine starts Jim Carrey undergoing a procedure that will erase his ex-girlfriend (Kate Winslet) from his mind. But the process takes Carrey on a deep dive into his own consciousness. There aren’t multiple universes but you do jump memory to memory and the variety is powerful. They’re sometimes funny. Sometimes sad. Always poignant. It really gets at a similar idea of trauma and depression leading to a self-cleansing and hope for the future.
Bonus: Turn Down For What (music video)
The “Turn Down For What” music video is one of the weirdest (and greatest) music videos. Of all time. And it was directed by the same creative duo who did Everything Everywhere. Watch it and you’ll be like “Oh, whoa. These guys have a style.” They sure do. And if you loved what they did with the multiverse, you’ll probably enjoy their take on exploring an apartment building.