Critic Reviews



Based on 35 critic reviews provided by
Entertainment Weekly
For one of those obstreperously original books that are themselves impossible to translate, Everything Is Illuminated is impressively well lit.
I have misgivings about Schreiber's use of the well-worn "I'll make you empathize with these Others, but first let's have laughs at their expense" approach, but eventually I was won over by his humane, moving road trip.
Leave it to Liev: Schreiber capably adds writer-director to his impressive resume with this winning take on the Jonathan Safran Foer novel.
Wood's powerlessness to break out of the emotive straightjacket hands the picture to his Russian costars on a platter, and they run with it.
Wall Street Journal
Not everything is illuminated in his (Liev Schreiber) version, but the book's humanity and humor shine through.
Schreiber takes Foer's sprawling, multilayered, multigenerational beast and hones it into a post-Glasnost buddy picture; a polished nugget of a road movie, focused mainly on Alex and Jonathan's growing sense of identification with each other and with their origins.
The presentation has verve. But the story is confusingly told - everything is NOT illuminated - and, as the seeker, Elijah Wood is a big blank.
This movie is sloppy and disjointed - an unsatisfying melodrama built upon a shaky foundation of contrivances, coincidences, and plot holes.
Village Voice
Foer's ironic ideas have a lovely roundness to them, and somehow the film achieves Holocaust-fiction balance without much ado or melodrama. It may be substantially less ambitious than its source material, but that may be what saves it from implosion.
The A.V. Club
But the parts of Foer's lively novel that didn't get cut in the script stage have died on the way to the screen. To be fair, it's not an easy novel to adapt.

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