Everything is Illuminated

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

This comedic drama follows a Jewish American on a journey to collect the artifacts of his family heritage. When his grandfather dies, Jonathan Foer (Elijah Wood) has only a few clues about the mans life. He knows that his grandfather lived in the Ukraine before World War II and that a young woman named Augustine helped him escape before the Nazi invasion. But who was she and how did she help? In search of answers, Jonathan travels to the Ukraine where he hires Alex (Eugene Hutz) and his irritable grandfather (Boris Leskin) to be his guides. Though they are skeptical of Jonathans rigid search for the dead, Alex and his grandfather still drive him all over the Ukrainian countryside in search of his grandfathers village and of Augustine. And just as they begin to doubt their success, they happen upon some unexpected links to the past.

Everything is Illuminated is an engaging film balanced between comedy and drama. Each of the eccentric characters, whether they know it or not, is on a journey of self-discovery, trying to understand himself in light of the past. For Jonathan and his companions, this involves hearing the difficult and personal stories of persecution and murder during the Nazi invasion of their homeland. The stories help Jonathan to understand his grandfather, to acknowledge the struggles and joys of life, and to cherish the gift of his heritage. In this way, the film teaches a valuable lesson, focusing on the people, places, traditions and events that make us who we are and remind viewers to cherish the past. Yet despite this great lesson, the film is not flawless. It contains offensive and derogatory language, several sexual references, and a disturbing image of a suicide victim, all of which contribute to its negative acceptability rating.

Preview Reviewer: Shaun Daugherty
Warner Independent

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (13) times mild (hell 3); strong (b-tch 10)

Obscene Language: Several (9) times moderate (other 1); strong (f-word 1, s-word 5, other 2)

Profanity: Few (3) times moderate (G 2); strong (GD 1)

Violence: Several times mild (men yell at each other, men talk and shout in threatening way, man hits a dog who misbehaves, woman verbally describes the execution of several Jewish families by Nazis); moderate (man hits his adult son in the face, man hits and kicks another man several times, flashback shows Nazi firing squad preparing to shoot several Jewish men, man remembers awaking amidst several dead bodies); strong (man shown dead and bloody after having committed suicide)

Sex: None

Nudity: Few times mild (women shown in revealing tops)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times mild (man claims that many women want to have sex with him, man asks another man how often he has sex); moderate (men refer to a porn star and briefly discuss the size of his sexual organ in comparison to their own)

Drugs: Few times mild (man gives cigarettes to another man as a gift)

Other: Portrayal and discussion of anti-semitism, discussion of the persecution and murder of Jewish people during World War II, discussion of religious persecution, references to Jewish religious practice and Hebrew Scriptures, Ukrainian man asks about the rights of blacks and homosexuals in the U.S., discussion and use of some derogatory terms or statements to refer to groups of people, portrayal of the value of ones heritage in understanding oneself

Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Adults

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