Everything Is Illuminated

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Released 2005

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Movie Summary

Director:
Liev Schreiber
Released:
2005
Rating:
PG-13
Everything Is Illuminated, based on a novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, is a 2005 drama starring Elijah Wood. The film's protagonist, named Jonathan Foer (Elijah Wood), is a Jewish-American man in search of the truth about his family's past. Jonathan has a habit of storing away mementos in labeled plastic bags to keep track of his life, but one piece is missing: he doesn't know the story of the woman who saved his grandfather's life during the Holocaust. He contacts Alex (Eugene Hutz), a man whose business involves taking descendants of Holocaust survivors on tours of their relatives' hometowns. Alex and Jonathan, accompanied by Alex's grandfather and a seeing-eye dog with the quirky name of Sammy Davis Jr., Jr., set off on a road trip across the Ukraine. No one is able to give them directions to Trachimbord, the small town where Jonathan's grandfather lived, but an unexpected detour may lead Jonathan to the answers he seeks.

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Metacritic Score

  • 70

    Los Angeles Times Carina Chocano

    Schreiber takes Foer's sprawling, multilayered, multigenerational beast and hones it into a post-Glasnost buddy picture; a polished nugget of a road movie, focused mainly on Alex a...

  • 70

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    Wood's powerlessness to break out of the emotive straightjacket hands the picture to his Russian costars on a platter, and they run with it.

  • 50

    The New York Times Dana Stevens

    Taken on its own, without comparison with its literary source, the movie, Mr. Schreiber's first as writer and director, is thin and soft, whimsical when it should be darkly funny a...

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Themes

Family Dramas, Coming of Age