All of us, at some point in our lives, have speculated how things might have worked out if we made a different choice or opted for the “road not taken."
In the multiverse, every forking path creates a new timeline or an alternate reality. There may be a world where you’re living your best life, or where everyone has hot-dog-shaped fingers.
Even if parallel universes do exist, scientists haven’t yet found a way to communicate or travel between them. But if you’re in dire need of a portal to transport you to an alternate world, these ten multiverse movies are your surefire tickets to get out of dreary reality.
Everything Everywhere All At Once
This Michelle Yeoh-starring film has been hailed as one of the best movies of 2022.
Evelyn Wang (Yeoh) is a Chinese immigrant currently running a laundromat. But Evelyn has several unfulfilled dreams. Along with her husband (Ke Huy Quan), she's being audited by the IRS. Meanwhile, her strict father Gong Gong (James Hong) has arrived from China, and her lesbian daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) is determined to have Becky, her white girlfriend, join the family.
Evelyn’s life takes an unexpected turn when her husband’s body is briefly usurped by another version of himself (from a parallel universe). He introduces her to the concept of “verse jumping” and teaches her the basic skills needed to fight a great evil that threatens all of the multiverse.
Absurd, heartwarming, and hilarious, Everything Everywhere All at Once is an action-packed and emotional foray into the multiverse that is sure to linger in your mind long after the end credits roll.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
This installment to Marvel's Doctor Strange series was directed by Sam Raimi. The film plays around with the idea that dreams are glimpses into our parallel selves, and introduces the concept of “dream walking,” which allows a person to travel to another reality by taking control of their dream counterpart.
In the movie, Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is saddled with America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez)—a young girl who has the power to travel across the Multiverse.
Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), who has been driven mad with grief after losing her loved ones, covets America’s power for herself, as she longs to travel to a world where she can be with her children. Wanda is prepared to kill anyone and everyone who stands in her way.
Filled with Raimi’s trademark horror elements, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a fast-paced ride that brings in unexpected faces and packs in lots of surprises.
Another Earth is a philosophical indie film directed by Mike Cahill, dealing with the themes of missed chances, regret, and accidental encounters. Rhoda (Brit Marling) is a promising student whose dreams of studying at MIT are dashed after she accidentally hits a car, injuring the passengers inside.
Four years later, after serving her prison sentence, Rhoda strikes up a friendship with John (William Mapother), not knowing that he was a passenger in the accident she caused. Around the same time, she also wins a civilian space flight to a “mirror Earth” that has been recently discovered. Rhoda believes that John’s family might still be safe and alive on the other planet.
Although a slow film, Another Earth is a poignant and profound story about living with regrets and hoping for second chances.
Released just a few weeks after 9/11, Donnie Darko wasn’t an immediate box office success. However, the sci-fi thriller soon gained a cult following.
Directed by Richard Kelly, the film deals with a troubled teenager, Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal), who survives a strange accident. Donnie is contacted by Frank, a figure in a rabbit costume who informs him that the world will end in 28 days. Frank further enlists Donnie to commit various crimes.
If you’re in the mood for something mind-bending, this psychological thriller is worth the hype.
Spider-Man: No Way Home
In this Spider-Man film starring Tom Holland, Peter Parker enlists Doctor Strange’s help to make everyone forget that Peter is the titular webslinger.
But, as usual, Strange's spell goes horribly wrong. Soon, villains from earlier Spider-Man movies (or parallel timelines) are pulled into Peter’s universe. Fortunately, Peter doesn’t have to fight them on his own, as other Spider-Men (cue Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield) also show up, ready to help.
This is a multi-million-dollar crossover movie that celebrates the older Spider-Man films and cleverly introduces the concept of the Multiverse into the MCU.
A group of friends finds a mirror in a house that serves as a portal to the multiverse. Emboldened by the discovery, they decide to bring back knowledge and technology from different parallel universes to improve their present lives.
But the multiverse has a way of fighting back, and the group may face deadly consequences for their actions.
How often have you wondered if your life would play out differently if you missed the train or an important appointment? Well, this 1998 Gwyneth Paltrow-starring film explores such a premise when the main character, after being fired from her job, misses her train on the London Underground.
While one storyline follows what would have happened if she actually managed to board the train, the other delves into the events that take place after she misses the train and hails a taxi.
The film alternates between the two storylines that intersect to tell a satisfying love story. If you’re in the mood for a romantic comedy, give this one a try.
Despite the title, this low-budget indie film is known to be intentionally confusing.
An already-strained dinner party goes awry when a comet passes by Earth and splits reality apart. The group of friends realizes that they may not all be from the same timeline and have to work together to understand their new world, even as dark secrets and liaisons come to light.
The Golden Compass
The Golden Compass is based on the first book in Philip Pullman’s bestselling fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials. It is set in a parallel Oxford where every person has a "daemon," an animal companion who carries their soul.
The scientist Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig), after spending years studying the mysterious substance “dust,” has finally found proof of existence of other worlds. He's determined to travel to these other realms, even if it means upsetting the Church. But when a family friend of Lord Asriel's daughter Lyra (Dakota Blue Richards) is kidnapped, Lyra embarks on a grand quest to find him.
Despite starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig in lead roles, the film wasn’t a box office success. However, it deals with some fascinating concepts including atheism, religious dogma, and the ethics of scientific experimentation.
Source Code is an interesting sci-fi flick that explores the topic of branching timelines.
Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is part of a secret government program in which he has to repeatedly relive the eight minutes prior to a train explosion. However, he soon suspects that he isn’t experiencing a simulation, but instead creating alternate timelines each time he goes back.
At just 93 minutes, Source Code is a short, trippy, and engaging watch.