Everything is Illuminated 2005

Everything Is Illuminated

Critics Consensus

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

67%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 120

89%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 59,927

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Movie Info

A young Jewish-American man obsessed with his family history, Jonathan Safran Foer (Elijah Wood) decides to journey to the Ukraine to find out more about the life of his grandfather. Guided by Alex (Eugene Hutz), a rap-obsessed local, Jonathan ventures into the heartland of the Ukraine seeking to shed light on events that occurred to his grandfather during World War II. Joining Jonathan and Alex is the latter's surly grandfather (Boris Leskin) and a dog named Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.

Cast & Crew

Boris Leskin
Alex's Grandfather
Jana Hrabetova
Jonathan's Grandmother
Stephen Samudovsky
Jonathan's Grandfather Safran
Oleksandr Choroshko
Alexander Perchov
Liev Schreiber
Screenwriter
Tom Karnowski
Co-Producer
David Minkowski
Co-Producer
Matthew Stillman
Executive Producer
Matthew Libatique
Cinematographer
Mark Geraghty
Production Design
Michael Clancy
Costume Designer
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Critic Reviews for Everything is Illuminated

All Critics (120) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (80) | Rotten (40)

  • Quote not available.

    December 6, 2005 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • It's funny and warm, with the sting of the horrific event that triggered the trip giving it a melancholy feel.

    October 14, 2005 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    October 8, 2005 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • This isn't a frivolous film or a dumb one. Mostly, it feels like a mistake -- the wrong director matched with the wrong material.

    October 2, 2005 | Rating: C
  • [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.

    September 30, 2005 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    September 30, 2005 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Everything is Illuminated

  • Sep 29, 2016
    Plot was draggy but the Gogol Bordello guy (and the dog) stole the show.
    Letitia L Super Reviewer
  • Sep 07, 2015
    An unusual film - part comedy, part drama. Elijah Wood plays a young man who travels to the Ukraine to remember what he could about his Jewish grandfather's escape from the Nazis in WW2. He gets more than he bargained for.
    Red L Super Reviewer
  • Aug 23, 2012
    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.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 22, 2011
    Alex: I was of the opinion that the past is past, and like all that is not now it should remain burried along the side of our memories.  "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.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer

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