Everything Is Illuminated

Film , Drama
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(1 user review)
0 Love It
Save it
Schreiber’s first film as writer-director pares Jonathan Safran Foer’s overpraised novel down to its contemporary through-line, which follows Jonathan (Wood, inscrutable behind enormous glasses) through the Ukraine countryside as he searches for the woman who he believes saved his grandfather from the Nazis;he’s aided by a malaprop-spouting guide, Alex (Gogol Bordello frontman Hutz in a winning film debut), and Alex’s own bigoted granddad. Self-consciously droll and stylised in the mode of recent Wes Anderson, the handsome but surface-skimming film italicises its clumsy comic diversions with rote bursts of klezmer before turning uncertainly sombre.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday November 25 2005
Duration: 106 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Liev Schreiber
Screenwriter: Liev Schreiber
Cast: Elijah Wood
Eugene Hutz
Boris Leskin
Laryssa Lauret
LiveReviews|1
NaN people listening
LA

I revisited this film recently and was reminded of how utterly beautiful it is. It doesn’t stray far from the novel and Schreiber’s cast mirror Jonathan Safran Foer's characters wonderfully. Elijah Wood’s character is straight-edged and serious, but the emotional journey he goes through, people he meets and the places he visits make for an almost changed man by the end. It is brilliantly funny and heart-achingly sad at times, and gives insight into some of the effects of post-war ancestry.