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maryann johanson | takeaway only

Everything Is Illuminated (review)

Actor Liev Schreiber (The Manchurian Candidate) aims high for his directorial debut with an ambitious, potentially precarious story about the indelible pull of the past and the enveloping warmth of family… and he succeeds fantastically, gifting us with a visually witty, beautifully painterly film that is extraordinarily wise when it isn’t quirky-funny. A sensitive, oddball young American (a wonderful Elijah Wood: Sin City) travels to the Ukraine and tours the countryside with two Odessa men and a “deranged” dog named Sammy Davis Junior Junior in search of the boyhood town of his immigrant grandfather, a journey that Schreiber spins into the eccentric but never the self-conscious, that sings with passionate emotion but never descends into mawkishness. Bravo.

MPAA: rated PG-13 for disturbing images/violence, sexual content and language

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