7.5/10
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Everything Is Illuminated (2005)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 14 October 2005 (USA)
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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.

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

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Cast

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 ...
Igor
Zuzana Hodkova ...
Alex's Mother
Mikki ...
Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.
Mouse ...
Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.
Boris Leskin ...
Robert Chytil ...
Breakdancer
Jaroslava Sochova ...
Woman on Train
Sergei Ryabtsev ...
Ukrainian Band Member (as Sergej Rjabcev)
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Leave Normal Behind.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

14 October 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Collector  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

When Jonathan, Alex, his grandfather and Lista meet by the river, the moon is full, but it was only three-quarters full the night before. However, this could have been a creative choice by the filmmakers to show that "everything is illuminated" in that scene. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

References Battleship Potemkin (1925) See more »

Soundtracks

Start Wearing Purple
Written by Gogol Bordello
Performed by Gogol Bordello
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Searching the Missing Past
22 January 2008 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In America, the Jewish Jonathan Safran Foer (Elijah Wood) collects personal belongings of his family for recollection. A few moments before dying, his grandmother gives an old photograph of his grandfather with a woman called Augustine in Ukraine. Jonathan contacts the Odessa Heritage Tours, a family agency in Ukraine, to guide him to the location where the picture had been taken to find Augustine, and together with the interpreter Alex (Eugene Hutz), his grandfather and a weird dog, they travel in an old car searching the missing past of Jonathan's family.

"Everything Is Illuminated" is a strange movie about a weird young man with the compulsive behavior of collecting souvenirs from his family to not forget them that seeks the past of his grandfather to understand how could be his life if his grandfather had not moved to USA. This bizarre vegetarian character meets a dysfunctional Ukrainian family that owns an amateurish travel agency specialized in helping Jews to find missing relatives, and together they have an almost surrealistic road-trip through the country of Ukraine. The movie begins like a comedy, with a sarcastic black humor, and ends in a touching and tragic drama recommended for specific audiences. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Uma Vida Iluminada" ("An Illuminated Life")


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