Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 48 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Based on the critically-acclaimed novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated tells the story 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. (Warner Independent Pictures)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35
  1. 88
    A film that grows in reflection. The first time I saw it, I was hurtling down the tracks of a goofy ethnic comedy when suddenly we entered dark and dangerous territory. I admired the film but did not sufficiently appreciate its arc.
  2. Reviewed by: G. Allen Johnson
    An almost screwball comedy that turns serious.
  3. Leave it to Liev: Schreiber capably adds writer-director to his impressive resume with this winning take on the Jonathan Safran Foer novel.
  4. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Everything Is Illuminated hasn't been adapted so much as gutted, stuffed, and mounted.
  5. Schreiber's directing is ambitious, but it is nowhere near the originality and truth in his acting. Throughout the film we can feel him striving to control, to invent, to glisten.
  6. It's as if two-thirds of the book have been reduced to one-word chapter headings.
  7. 25
    Liev Schreiber's film version of "Everything Is Illuminated" achieves the impossible — it's even more annoying than Jonathan Safran Foer's gratingly precocious novel.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 23
  2. Negative: 2 out of 23
  1. NhungL.
    Feb 26, 2008
    The movie is soooooo brilliant - it really touches my emotions without using sentimental scenes and language. Its pace is slow with soft music, which gives me a feeling of sadness and gloominess. At first, I was amused by Alex's family, but then deeply absolved in their serious and mysterious adventure. The movie achieves a lot without telling too much, just silence, music and beautiful scene. The view of the woman's house in the middle of a sunflower field is soooo fanciful. Those who think that Jonathan's trip ends up nowhere should rewatch the movie. In the end, Jonathan finds Trachimbrod and gains much more - not just lost family memories. Expand
  2. ulac.
    Sep 25, 2005
    What a wonderful film! It was so worth my $10. And Laryssa Lauret deserves an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress!
  3. JackS.
    Apr 29, 2006
    That rare film that successfully blends laugh-out-loud humor with drama.
  4. Alex
    Sep 30, 2005
    I thought this movie was fantastic! I can understand how it might now be accessible to everyone, but if you're in any way familiar with Ukrainian culture and thinking, this movie hits it on the button. This is *not* an easy book to translate into a movie, given the various substories and such, but the end result is quite good. It was a bit slow at the start (I think the whole of 'chapter 1' had 5 lines in it), but it picks up adequate steam as it proceeds. And, the scene with the workmen in the field is strikingly accurate. This movie should most certainly be nominated for some awards - it exceeds a lot of the muck that is being passed around these days. Expand
  5. May 14, 2012
    "Everything is Illuminated" is a movie about memories and the things that certain people do with them. Some treasure each memory with zeal and optimism; others spend a lifetime filtering every dark moment with a hope of never having to suffer in remembrance of it. So many things can happen to us, both good and bad, and it's not unusual to occasionally wish that we can control our ability to remember, and forget.

    Elijah Wood stars as Jonathan, a Jewish-American who is about to travel to Ukraine in search of the woman who saved his grandfather's life during the Second World War. His eyes are magnified by his thick glasses and his hair is cautiously combed, which rightfully matches his black suite. Our first impression of Jonathan is a man who is curious and disciplined. We are even hinted that he has an obsessive-compulsive nature the first time we see a wall in his home almost completely covered with plastic bags containing items that is there to simply remind him.

    While Jonathan is yet to arrive, we are introduced to a Ukrainian family whose business is to help Jews find the place where their ancestors have perished. This is where the movie suddenly adapts a comedic tone. The eldest son is Alex, who is the film's narrator. His skills in English are lacking in an appealing way. He claims to be a "premium" dancer, and is not very excited to learn that he must accompany his grandfather in "the commencement of a very rigid search." Because Grandfather, the designated driver of the search, claims to be blind, they bring along Sammy Davis Junior Jr. He is the official "seeing eye **** I kinda love these guys.

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  6. HansB.
    Apr 22, 2006
    A very sensible and serious subject with lots of humour in it. What is jewish anyway ?
  7. Travis
    Sep 19, 2005
    This movie was pretty pathetic. Though that may be because of how much I loved the book. I found it hard to sit through.

See all 23 User Reviews