you can start by watching this movie. It is funny, comical and poignant. If i would've seen the cover to the dvd i may not have watched it, because honestly, elijah wood doesnt exactly look his best here, and what's with the superbright background of sunflowers..
but i did , and i discovered a movie that i'll remember for a long long time to come. The movie is based on a book authored by Jonathan Safran Foer, whom the main character is named after as well. This is the story of a young American Jew visiting post Soviet Ukraine in search for a lady whom is thought to have saved his grandfather during WWII
the movie shows us Ukraine pretty much as it is, very real to life. The idiosyncratic behaviours of the Ukrainians, the Russian accented English (many cities are still Russian speaking) and the defensive stand off-ish attitude adopted by so many locals. the movie starts off rather comical, and as the story unfolds there are many poignant and unexpected twists.
i admit i may be biased because im living in Ukraine at the moment, but i really love this movie. After all it has all the attributes i love in a movie : comedy, emotions and drama. the movie is not for you if u do not appreciate the somewhat dark humour, or if you are looking for more action. It goes on slowly, but it is injected with right doses of mystery to keep you watching.
look out for Oleg, the Ukrainian tour guide, listen to the way he speaks as this is almost exactly the way the locals speak. watch the scene where his family was having a meal and they were discussing picking Jonathan up from the train station, and let me tell you, this is pretty much how the locals speak to each other as well. What we may take as rudeness or anger is probably just the normal tone they express themselves.
i credit the producers for bringing to the screen a very real depiction of the Ukrainians, as we dont see much in movies these days. I will remember this movie when im return to my home country in the unlikely event that i'll miss being in Ukraine.
all that said, Please Watch The Movie!