7.5/10
54,133
178 user 97 critic

Everything Is Illuminated (2005)

Trailer
2:33 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
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.

Director:

Liev Schreiber

Writers:

Jonathan Safran Foer (novel), Liev Schreiber (screenplay)
7 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

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

Storyline

Jewish-American writer Jonathan Safran Foer is a collector of his family's memorabilia, although most of the items, some which he takes without asking, would not be considered keepsakes by the average person. He places most of those items in individual Ziploc bags, and hangs them on his keepsake wall under the photograph of the person to who it is most associated. He has this compulsion in an effort to remember. He is able to tie a photograph that he receives from his grandmother, Sabine Foer, on her deathbed - it of his grandfather, Safran Foer, during the war in the Ukraine, and a young woman he will learn is named Augustine - back to a pendant he stole from his grandfather on his deathbed in 1989, the pendant of a glass encased grasshopper. Learning that Augustine somehow saved his grandfather's life leads to Jonathan going on a quest to find out the story at its source where the photograph was taken, in a now non-existent and probably largely forgotten town called Trachimbrod that... Written by Huggo

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:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian | Ukrainian

Release Date:

14 October 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Collector See more »

Filming Locations:

Odessa, Ukraine See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$66,806, 18 September 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,705,595, 27 November 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Jonathan Safran Foer: appears as the leaf blower at the beginning of the film. See more »

Goofs

When the three meet the small kid who asks them for chewing gum, the kid's hands have different positions on the window when filmed from inside the car or from his back. See more »

Quotes

Alex: I do not know any women who are taller than me. The women who *are* taller than me are lesbians, for whom 1969 was a very momentous year.
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

Fear of the South
Written by Mark Orton
Performed by Tin Hat Trio
Courtesy of Ropeadope/Artemis Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Illumination is Humorous, Sad, & Deeply Moving
25 December 2005 | by cdelacroix1See all my reviews

I really liked this movie ... but the ads I saw implied, and one published review actually said, that this movie "benefits from a light touch." That to me is very misleading.

There is indeed plenty of humor: eccentric, un-subtle, sometimes somewhat twisted humor: the kind of humor I generally find very appealing indeed. But most of the humor is the kind that appears conscious at all times of things deeply serious, deeply sensitive, even deeply painful. The movie weaves together themes of Past and Present, Perception and Truth, Memory and Activity, Life and Death. The entire movie is suffused by the history of European anti-Semiticism in general, and of the Holocaust in particular.

How can Humor and Horror be combined in the same movie? The review I saw suggested that the humor is Absurdist. I don't think this is the case at all; at least not in the common sense. Instead, I think this movie stands in the tradition of much Jewish / Yiddish literature and theatre. I don't claim to be any kind of expert in this area; but from what I've seen, Humor is used, in this cultural context, both as a coping tool for the horribly tragic experiences of this people; and also Humor is used as a means of "recovering the Divine" for men and women who choose a path of Faith rather than a path of either Despair or Absurdism. See "Fiddler on the Roof" for Humor used in both ways in this rich tradition.

Elijah Wood (Jonathon) Wood wears horn rimmed glasses that really make him look, well, strange: compare Sin City when he wore the same kinds of glasses with chilling effect. In this movie, it's easy to see how the glasses become a metaphor for both his Search and for his Struggle between Perception and Truth. Eugene Hutz (Young Alex) and Boris Lesking (Old Alex) are both really just wonderful. Jonathon and Young Alex are from the same generation, yet seem so very, very different; and then find that they are not so different after all. And the way in which the Apparent Narrative Voice changes gradually from that of Jonathon to that of Young Alex .. as a journey of intended discovery for Jonathon becomes one of discovery for both Young Alex and Old Alex ... is to me so very moving.

There are some wonderful scenes and panoramas from (I'm told) Prague and environs, standing in for the Ukraine of the story line. All feels very authentic and seems to give a wonderful sense of place; although I've never been myself to the Ukraine and can hardly testify to this from first hand experience.

All in all, if you're looking for light comedy, I would not recommend this movie at all. On the other hand, if you are interested in a wonderful, delightful, and deeply moving film, please, check out this wonderful movie.


21 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 178 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed