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Everything Is Illuminated (2005)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  14 October 2005 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 48,968 users   Metascore: 58/100
Reviews: 173 user | 113 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

A young Jewish American man endeavors to find the woman who saved his grandfather during World War II in a Ukrainian village, that was ultimately razed by the Nazis, with the help of an eccentric local.



(novel), (screenplay)
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7 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Leaf Blower
Jana Hrabetova ...
Jonathan's Grandmother
Stephen Samudovsky ...
Jonathan's Grandfather Safran
Young Jonathan
Oleksandr Choroshko ...
Alexander Perchov, Father
Gil Kazimirov ...
Zuzana Hodkova ...
Alex's Mother
Mikki ...
Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.
Mouse ...
Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.
Boris Leskin ...
Robert Chytil ...
Jaroslava Sochova ...
Woman on Train
Sergei Ryabtsev ...
Ukrainian Band Member (as Sergej Rjabcev)


A young Jewish American flies to Ukraine in search of his grandfather's past. He has a photograph and the name of a village. He hires Odessa Heritage Tours, made up of a gruff old man and his English-speaking grandson. The three, plus grandfather's deranged dog, travel in an old car from Odessa into Ukraine's heart. Jonathan, the American, is a collector, putting things he finds into small plastic bags, so he will remember. Alex, the interpreter, is an archetypal wild and crazy guy. Alex asks the old man, "Was there anti-Semitism in the Ukraine before the war?" Will they find the village? The past illuminates everything. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Leave Normal Behind.


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for disturbing images/violence, sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

14 October 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Collector  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$66,806 (USA) (16 September 2005)


$1,705,595 (USA) (25 November 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The magazine that Alex and his brother actually reads "Large Furniture". See more »


When the three run out of gas and camp outdoors, Jonathan briefly holds the photo of his grandfather and Augustine with both hands. Between shots, his hands are in different positions. See more »


Alex: How much currency would a first-rate accountant receive in America?
Jonathan: I don't know, a lot, probably, if he or she is good.
Alex: She?
Jonathan: Or he.
Alex: Are there Negro accountants?
Jonathan: Yes, there are *African American* accountants, but you don't want to use that word.
Alex: And homosexual accountants?
Jonathan: There are homosexual *everythings*. There are homosexual garbage men.
Alex: [shocked] And how much currency would a Negro homosexual accountant receive?
Jonathan: You really shouldn't use that word.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Several songs are credited to the New York punk/Gypsy/Jewish klezmer band, Gogol Bordello, which is led by Eugene Hutz, who plays Alex in the film (the same band greets Jonathan when he arrives on the train). The last of these songs, "Start Wearing Purple (For Me Now)," which plays over the end credits, is credited to both a correct spelling (Gogol Bordello), dg and Gogol Bodello, an incorrect spelling. See more »


Referenced in Dexter: Everything Is Illumenated (2010) See more »


So Sensitive
Written by Pete Miser
Performed by Pete Miser
Courtesy of Ho-Made Media
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A young man follows his roots to Ukraine
3 September 2005 | by (Portland, Oregon, USA) – See all my reviews

I just saw "Everything is Illuminated" at the Telluride Film Festival. This is a truly remarkable film. Very emotional, funny at times and heart-warming. Bring your handkerchiefs! For those of you who enjoy a movie that brings tears to your eyes, I'm reminded of the endings of "Babette's Feast" and "The Notebook." The stories were completely different but had that same emotional power to bring tears to my eyes, just as this film did.

No spoilers here. The summary is, as IMDb describes, a young man's journey to the Ukraine to follow his roots and find the village where his father grew up.

The dialog is in English and Ukrainian (and Russian too, I believe). This allows for some wonderfully linguistically-based moments as one character interprets, more or less faithfully, for the English speaker in the group, depending on the circumstances.

The scenery is wonderful and the musical score is a treat with wonderful Eastern European influences. Be sure you stay through the credits for the final tune.

This is Lieve Schreiber's directorial debut and is well done. I give this film a 9, one of the best films I've seen in a long time. I recommend it highly.

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