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Everything Is Illuminated (2005)

Cast: Elijah Wood, Elijah Wood, Eugene Hutz, more...
Director: Liev Schreiber, Liev Schreiber
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Warner Home Video
Genre: Comedies, Drama, Independent, Black Comedy
Running Time: 105 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    see additional details...

A young man takes a strange and unexpectedly funny journey in search of a family heroine he's never known in this screen adaptation of the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer. Jonathan (Elijah Wood) is a lifelong collector of any and all objects pertaining to his family, and he has become obsessed with a woman he's never met. The woman saved the life of his grandfather during World War II, when the Ukrainian town where he was born was destroyed by Nazi troops. Wanting to know more about the woman, Jonathan flies to the Ukraine, where with the help of a hip-hop obsessed, gold-toothed tour guide and translator named Alex (Eugene Hütz), Alex's grandfather (a chauffeur who has claimed to be blind since his wife's death, played by Boris Leskin), and a dog named Sammy Davis Junior Junior, Jonathan searches for the meaning of the present that lies buried in the past, unexpectedly shedding the same such light on the lives of those around him. Everything Is Illuminated was the first directorial assignment for acclaimed actor Liev Schreiber. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Sensitive, harrowing, funny - great balance, great film by HPearson October 20, 2007 - 8:17 AM PDT
0 out of 1 members found this review helpful
One of my favorite movies I've seen in a long time. It's a very emotional film (which to me is a positive thing), and I think that it does a great job of lightening the very harrowing subject matter of the Holocaust through the presentation of comical and quirky characters. The film achieves a great balance between comedy and tragedy.

A great indie flick by sthussey January 21, 2007 - 6:49 PM PST
1 out of 2 members found this review helpful
I thought the movie was fantastic throughout. It relies more on character development than on plot for entertainment. All three main characters bring a approachable point of view to the story and the ending is not obvious until you get there. I would certainly recommend anyone watch this.

Holocaust-Lite by talltale March 20, 2006 - 2:19 AM PST
6 out of 8 members found this review helpful
Liev Schreiber is such a fine actor--so specific, original and true--that it comes as a shock to witness the nearly complete botch of a film he's written and directed called EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED. Based on the famous novel by Jonathan Safran Foer (unread by me, so I'm not comparing), the film comes off like one long, unbelievable cliché, with a single redeeming feature: A Russian narrator who mangles the English language in a cute and occasionally clever manner. Otherwise, this simplistic "search for family roots" reduces the Jewish holocaust yet again to a cheap and ugly nasty-Nazi incident.

Schrieber's way with visuals allows for a lot of sentimentality (the key house is set in the middle of a field of endless sunflowers, and there are too many long, "meaningful" close-ups of eyes, sometimes welling with tears). Plot-wise, the so-called "search" is solved so easily as to be ridiculous, and the acting will win no prizes. Elijah Wood performs like a one-note, smiling zombie; Eugene Hutz as his Russian counterpart is a lot more interesting/convincing; and the dog, played by a canine duo, can sure bare a neat set of fangs. Overall, though: tiresome claptrap.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.11)
76 Votes
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