Everything is Illuminated Reviews
"Leave Normal Behind."
Everything is Illuminated is one of the more odd road movies you will ever see. The film isn't very funny, although it has been dubbed a dramedy. The film was nothing like I expected, but was just as good. Elijah Wood gives a very subtle and good performance as Jonathan and the rest of the cast, which is unknown to me, is very good as well. The movie is unexpectedly weird and is not made in a very straightforward fashion, which I like. It is extremely well made though, with some beautiful cinematography and a score that fits the scenery and story very well.
Jonathan is a Jew who collects and everything that somehow relates to his families past. He goes to the Ukraine is search of a woman who saved his grandfathers life during WW2, when their village was invaded and destroyed by the Nazis. The film is funny for about twenty minutes, but for the most part it is just a straight drama and near the end it gets very emotional.
I like this movie because it is about a Jew who's family was affected by WW2 and the Nazis, yet it isn't a Holocaust film. I'm seriously getting sick of watching WW2 related movies about Jews because they are all about the Holocaust and there are so many of them. This manages to be about much more and it also manages to be a extremely beautiful piece of filmmaking.
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.
A funny and heartwarming directorial debut from Liev Schreiber. Jonathan Foer is an American who travels to the Ukraine to find the woman that saved his grandfather's life during World War II. Alex is his often funny translator, and Alex's "blind" grandfather is their driver. Together the three (and a seeing eye Bitch) travel through the Ukrainian countryside searching for a village called Trachimbrod. Eventually they find Lista, who like Jonathan is a "collector". From her they learn about the past, and a secret about Alex's grandfather is revealed.
A wonderful film that contains both laughter and sadness, filled with beautiful visuals and a good musical score. Highly recommended.
I found it to be a very touching and thought provoking look at history and family.
Concidering the subject matters, the film was able to have an overall lighthearted and hopefull feel about it, without lessening the intensity and power of the main message.
Never forget history (especially your own), but don't let it keep you from living your life to the fullest.
It gets off to a pretty strong start with a bit of fresh, awesome comic relief, but this comedic tone vanishes completely within the first 45 minutes. I can understand its need to switch to a more serious dramatic tone but it's cruel to tempt viewers with something really great, then bait-and-switch in something a lot less interesting.
The movie does score a few points for the occasional resonant emotional moment, most of them involving the sad-looking old woman in the sunflower field, but a lot of the time it's just really boring. Surface beauty only takes a film so far. Better luck next time, Mr. Schreiber. Try starring in a movie that is not a shitty horror remake and maybe that'll give you enough clout to direct something else.
This amazing addition to his collection takes him overseas from the comfort of America to Odessa, Ukraine. Where he meets a family whose business is to show Jewish families where their family members once resided.
Alex, an unorthodox young Ukrainian goes on a trip with his grandfather to escort the young american to find out who the woman in the photograph is. The language barrier is enough to keep one in stitches, and the way 'the prime translator' translates everything literally is quite hilarious.
Alex seems shallow, and is distant with his grandfather and all it takes is one young american to help them realize there is more to life. Alex learns more about life that exists outside of the time period he's living in Ukraine, and perhaps they all learn something from each other.
The cinematography is amazing, the light plays on everything. The Ukrainian country side is absolutely beautiful and the story itself is enlightening and endearing.
A beautiful story, that I recommend to everyone.