Everything Is Illuminated

Actor Liev Schreiber makes an admirable directorial debut with this film about Jonathan (Elijah Wood), an American traveler seeking out a family history, mainly his ancestors’ ties to the Holocaust, overseas. A breakdancing Ukrainian (Eugene Hutz) and his grandfather (Boris Leskin) lead him on a journey to investigate the story of Jonathan’s grandfather, and they make some remarkable discoveries. Schreiber does nice things with visuals and gives the film a decent sense of humor. An ongoing bit involving the grandfather’s demented dog gets good laughs, as does Jonathan’s tendency to place things in plastic bags. The film feels a bit long in spots, but overall, it’s a good effort from Schreiber with a decent Wood performance. The emotional payoff is significant and moving.

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