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Everything is Illuminated (2005)


Average Rating: 6.5/10
Reviews Counted: 119
Fresh: 79
Rotten: 40

Critics Consensus: Although it excises much from its famously dense source material, Everything is Illuminated is a quirky, ambitious debut film from Liev Schreiber.

Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 34
Fresh: 18
Rotten: 16

Critics Consensus: Although it excises much from its famously dense source material, Everything is Illuminated is a quirky, ambitious debut film from Liev Schreiber.


Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 59,511


Movie Info

Tale of a young man's quest to find the woman who saved his grandfather in a small Ukrainian town that was wiped off the map by the Nazi invasion. What starts out as a journey to piece together one family's story under the most absurd circumstances turns into a surprisingly meaningful journey with a powerful series of revelations -- the importance of remembrance, the perilous nature of secrets, the legacy of the Holocaust, the meaning of friendship and, most importantly, love.

PG-13 (for disturbing images/violence, sexual content and language)
Drama , Action & Adventure , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Liev Schreiber
In Theaters:
Mar 21, 2006
Box Office:
Warner Independent Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Everything is Illuminated

All Critics (130) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (79) | Rotten (40) | DVD (12)

It's funny and warm, with the sting of the horrific event that triggered the trip giving it a melancholy feel.

Full Review… | October 14, 2005
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

It's profound in the way that life is profound in hindsight, its view of the past both fixed in history and mutable in the telling. And it's exquisitely tender.

Full Review… | October 8, 2005
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

This isn't a frivolous film or a dumb one. Mostly, it feels like a mistake -- the wrong director matched with the wrong material.

Full Review… | October 2, 2005
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

[Schreiber] has managed something of a feat ... in spinning a single charming story out of Foer's yarn ball of a novel, which spanned 200 years, multiple stories and various protagonists.

Full Review… | September 30, 2005
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Schreiber effectively incorporates some of the novel's humor, most of which revolves around Alex's amusingly improvisational English, but never comes close to mining the book's true substance or heartbreak.

Full Review… | September 30, 2005
Miami Herald
Top Critic

A movie that wraps a story of mass murder in a package of whimsy, and prefers to focus on our commonality rather than any collective complicity in the crimes of history.

Full Review… | September 30, 2005
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

The lamentable influence of Dave Eggers' oh-so-precious post modern literary devices from "A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius" (2000) are glued all over a bullet proof piece of magical realism...

Full Review… | April 15, 2009

What begins in quirks and idiosyncrasy moves into a dark place where profound sadness and profound closure co-exist side by side.

Full Review… | February 28, 2008

while the film, concerned as it is with the brotherhood of man, is undoubtedly humanist in its philosophy, there are enough shades of grey to cast long shadows over its apparently sunny outlook.

Full Review… | July 4, 2007
Eye for Film

It is a film that doesn't want us to forget. Or perhaps it is a film that wants a new generation to remember a past which profoundly shapes its present.

September 22, 2006
Christianity Today

...for all its importance as a message picture and for all the subtlety of its filmmaking, the movie never quite feels like it has as much to say as it thinks it does.

Full Review… | March 20, 2006
Movie Metropolis

First-time director Liev Schreiber proves himself up to the task of conveying comedy and drama with equal aplomb.

Full Review… | March 19, 2006
Buzzine Magazine

It's risky material for a first-time director... But Schreiber's involving screenplay and his remarkably assured handling of the material somehow brings it all together into an effective, charmingly offbeat whole.

Full Review… | February 17, 2006
Kalamazoo Gazette

Una Vida Iluminada ya es suficiente carta de presentación como para esperar más del Liev Schreiber director que del actor.

Full Review… | December 28, 2005
Uruguay Total

...a thoroughly enjoyable, not entirely predictable sentimental comedy/drama...

December 15, 2005
Los Angeles CityBeat

It's also a generous performance, because Wood literally takes a backseat to Hutz's movie-stealing turn as the language-mangling Alex, whose English is 'not so premium'.

Full Review… | December 6, 2005

Poignant, pensive and profound.

Full Review… | December 6, 2005

A estréia de Schreiber na direçăo é tematicamente ambiciosa e merece aplausos.

November 21, 2005
Cinema em Cena

Pardon my obtuse thinking, but I want to draw a line between this wonderful, bitter sweet film and Little Fish, the much acclaimed Australian film. Both film deal with the presence of the past in our lives; indeed, Everything Is Illuminated (by the past)

Full Review… | November 20, 2005
Urban Cinefile

This is a film with a wide range of emotions. It is a film with some laughter and some very affecting moments. It may be a flawed film, but parts are really excellent.

Full Review… | November 12, 2005

A strange film that starts out as one thing and transforms into something quite different before it's done.

Full Review… | November 9, 2005
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The film remains mildly worthwhile simply due to its utter weird, sometimes beautiful construction, it adds nothing to the canon of Holocaust films or Jewish themed films

Full Review… | November 2, 2005

Schreiber's movie tends to trivialize the novel, not only by abridging the story ... but by subverting Foer's larger point of universal complicity in atrocity.

Full Review… | October 30, 2005
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Severely hampered by a screenplay that waters down much of the book's power, but the blow isn't lethal

Full Review… | October 25, 2005

(Alex) Hutz can't get back on screen soon enough if you ask me. He displays enormous range for a first-time actor.

October 22, 2005

Nevertheless, Everything Is Illuminated has a haunting afterglow, one that neither satisfies nor illuminates, but at least keeps the flame alive.

Full Review… | October 22, 2005
Austin Chronicle

Audience Reviews for Everything is Illuminated

Broad ethnic humor and mawkish sentiment supposedly held together by Woods' blank expression and very meaningful fades to white.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

A Ukrainian road trip of self discovery begins when a man decides to unravel the family secret that breaks his dying grandmother's heart ... giving us the best (and maybe the only) living with the Holocaust in the third generation story ever. You'll laugh, you'll cry.

Apeneck Fletcher

Super Reviewer

I resisted seeing this before reading the novel on which it's based, but I finally caved when it was on IFC... so glad I did. In the early going, director Liev Schreiber lets the camera and the music do most of the narrating before the perspective shifts to that of Ukrainian guide, Alex. It's unclear exactly whose story this is, which is the point in a way, and it's hard to say more than that without blowing the ending. A quirky, heavy film about finding out where we come from, and one that I really enjoyed. I think once I've read the book, I'll like it even more.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer


A very interesting little film. I liked it...

Jameson Worley

Super Reviewer

Everything is Illuminated Quotes

Everything is illuminated in the light of the past.
– Submitted by Angela R (2 years ago)
I have reflected many times upon our rigid search. It has shown me that everything is illuminated in the light of the past.
– Submitted by Chad E (3 years ago)

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