Everything Is Illuminated (film)

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Everything Is Illuminated
Everything Is Illuminated film.jpg
Everything Is Illuminated movie poster
Directed by Liev Schreiber
Produced by
Screenplay by Liev Schreiber
Based on Everything Is Illuminated 
by Jonathan Safran Foer
Music by Paul Cantelon
Sergei Shnurov
Cinematography Matthew Libatique
Edited by Andrew Marcus
Craig McKay
Distributed by Warner Independent Pictures
Release dates
  • September 16, 2005 (2005-09-16)
Running time
104 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English, Russian, Ukrainian
Budget $7,000,000[citation needed]
Box office $3,601,974[2]

Everything Is Illuminated is a 2005 biographical drama film, written and directed by Liev Schreiber and starring Elijah Wood and Eugene Hütz. It was adapted from the novel of the same name by Jonathan Safran Foer, and was the debut film of Liev Schreiber both as a director and as a screenwriter.[3]


Jonathan Foer, (Elijah Wood) a young American Jew, goes on a quest to find the woman, Augustina, sister of Lista (Laryssa Lauret), who saved his grandfather during the Holocaust in a small Ukrainian town called Trachimbrod that was wiped off the map when the Nazis liquidated Eastern European shtetls. His guides are a cranky, antisemitic grandfather (Boris Leskin), his deranged Border Collie named Sammy Davis, Jr., Jr., and his over-enthusiastic grandson, Alex (Eugene Hutz), whose fractured command of English, passion for American pop culture, and constant chatter threaten to make the worst of every situation. The guides are not very knowledgeable about the subject of finding Jews, and usually just attempt to scam them by taking them on long journeys, but after hearing about Jonathan's compelling story, they decide they actually want to help him. After traveling through much of rural Ukraine, they eventually find Augustina's sister, who leads them to where Augustina was killed by Nazi soldiers after her father refused to spit on the Torah. The grandfather kills himself after it was revealed he was Jewish and managed to survive the war himself by hiding his religion. Jonathan returns home after saying farewell to Alex, to whom he has grown close.[4]


The score for Everything Is Illuminated features eight original tracks composed by Paul Cantelon,[5] along with songs by Russian ska punk band Leningrad, Arkady Severny, Csókolom, Tin Hat Trio, and Gogol Bordello, whose lead singer Eugene Hutz plays Alex. The band members of Gogol Bordello play the band in the train station where the character Alex has come to meet his US client, Jonathan Foer. DeVotchKa's single "How It Ends" is featured in the trailer, but not in the official soundtrack.

Critical response[edit]

American Chronicle recounted the film as one of the "rare films that encapsulate the emotion of discovery and drama with humor",[6] while Time Out called it "an unbelievably assured debut as a director".[7] Roger Ebert praised the film and gave it 3 and a half stars out of 4, and went to see it a second time 'to better understand the journey it takes'.[1]

Box office[edit]

The film lost money at the box office, as the gross receipts never surpassed even the small budget of the production.




  • Foer, Jonathan Safran (2002). Everything is illuminated: a novel. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 0-618-17387-0. 

External links[edit]