The idea of the multiverse has been a conundrum for modern physics and a disaster for modern popular culture. I’m aware that some of you here in this universe will disagree, but more often than not a conceit that promises ingenuity and narrative abundance has delivered aggressive brand extension and the infinite recombination of cliché. Had I but world enough and time, I might work these thoughts up into a thunderous supervillain rant, but instead I’m happy to report that my research has uncovered a rare and precious exception.

That would be “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” an exuberant swirl of genre anarchy directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. The filmmakers — who work under the name Daniels and who are best known for the wonderfully unclassifiable “Swiss Army Man” (starring Daniel Radcliffe as a flatulent corpse) — are happy to defy the laws of probability, plausibility and coherence. This movie’s plot is as full of twists and kinks as the pot of noodles that appears in an early scene. Spoiling it would be impossible. Summarizing it would take forever — literally!

ImageMichelle Yeoh, left, and Jing Li in “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. The metaphysical high jinks turn out to rest on a sturdy moral foundation.

Michelle Yeoh, left, and Jing Li in “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. The metaphysical high jinks turn out to rest on a sturdy moral foundation.Credit...Allyson Riggs/A24

But while the hectic action sequences and flights of science-fiction mumbo-jumbo are a big part of the fun (and the marketing), they aren’t really the point. This whirligig runs on tenderness and charm. As in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” or Pixar’s “Inside Out,” the antic cleverness serves a sincere and generous heart. Yes, the movie is a metaphysical multiverse galaxy-brain head trip, but deep down — and also right on the surface — it’s a bittersweet domestic drama, a marital comedy, a story of immigrant striving and a hurt-filled ballad of mother-daughter love.

At the center of it all is Evelyn Wang, played by the great Michelle Yeoh with grace, grit and perfect comic timing. Evelyn, who left China as a young woman, runs a laundromat somewhere in America with her husband, Waymond (Ke Huy Quan). Her life is its own small universe of stress and frustration. Evelyn’s father (James Hong), who all but disowned her when she married Waymond, is visiting to celebrate his birthday. An I.R.S. audit looms. Waymond is filing for divorce, which he says is the only way he can get his wife’s attention. Their daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu), has self-esteem issues and also a girlfriend named Becky (Tallie Medel), and Evelyn doesn’t know how to deal with Joy’s teenage angst or her sexuality.

Inside the World of ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’

In this mind-expanding, idiosyncratic take on the superhero film, a laundromat owner is the focus of a grand, multiversal showdown.

Review: Our film critic called “Everything Everywhere All at Once” an exuberant swirl of genre anarchy.

The Protagonist: Over the years, Michelle Yeoh has built her image as a combat expert. For this movie, she drew on her emotional reserves.

The Villain: The actress Stephanie Hsu, who plays an all-powerful evil being, talks about how clothes convey the full range of her character.

A Lovelorn Romantic: A child star in the 1980s, Ke Huy Quan returns to acting as the husband of Yeoh’s character, a role blanding action and drama.

A Healing Experience: For some viewers, the movie was a way to reflect on how the effects of trauma can be passed down between generations.

The first stretch of “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is played in a key of almost-realism. There are hints of the cosmic chaos to come, in the form of ominous musical cues (the score is by Son Lux) and swiveling camera movements (the cinematography is by Larkin Seiple) — but the mundane chaos of Evelyn’s existence provides plenty of drama.