City of Ember


City of Ember (2008)


Critic Consensus: City of Ember is visually arresting, and boasts a superb cast, but is sadly lacking in both action and adventure.


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Movie Info

For generations, the people of the City of Ember have flourished in an amazing world of glittering lights. But Ember's once powerful generator is failing... and the great lamps that illuminate the city are starting to flicker. Now, two teenagers in a race against time, must search Ember for clues that will unlock the ancient mystery of the city's existence, and help the citizens escape before the lights go out forever.

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Saoirse Ronan
as Lina Mayfleet
Harry Treadaway
as Doon Harrow
Tim Robbins
as Loris Harrow
Bill Murray
as Mayor Cole
Mary Kay Place
as Mrs. Murdo
Toby Jones
as Barton Snode
Amy Quinn
as Poppy
David Ryall
as chief builder
Ian McElhinney
as builder 2
B.J. Hogg
as mayor's guard
Lucinda Dryzek
as Lizzie Bisco
Lorraine Hilton
as Miss Thorn
Liam Burke
as Mr. Boaz
Liz Smith
as Granny
Simon Kunz
as Captain Fleery
Frankie McCafferty
as Arbin Swinn
Heathcote Williams
as Sadge Merrall
Maureen Dow
as Mrs. Sample
Becky Stark
as song master
Brid Ni Chionaola
as Seely Schnap
Mark Mulholland
as portrait painter
Valerie O'Connor
as person in line
Ann Queensberry
as Doctor Tower
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Critic Reviews for City of Ember

All Critics (126) | Top Critics (32)

It's an unfortunate end to a promising movie.

Nov 10, 2008

Ultimately, it didn't move me in any way.

Nov 10, 2008 | Full Review…

Even if it occasionally goes off course, City of Ember provides audiences with a thought-provoking and family-friendly adventure.

Oct 10, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4
USA Today
Top Critic

A thrilling adventure tale and teen fantasy that is grounded in real concerns about who is managing the planet.

Oct 10, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Though City of Ember is a bit hurried in execution, this first live-action film by director Gil Kenan has the subterranean feel of a dream being described.

Oct 10, 2008 | Rating: 3/4

The story, based on Jeanne Duprau's novel of the same name, is beautifully constructed. It builds until it reaches the point that it's one edge-of-your-seat moment after another.

Oct 10, 2008 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for City of Ember


An uninspiring tale that just limply moves on with no real conviction. seen much better familly dramas!

Film Crazy
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer


Gil Kenan's adaptation of Jeanne Duprau's book, City of Ember, leaves the occasional blackout.

It's a brief 90 minutes to reach its conclusion, and while this film is a quick draw because of that, the lack of extensive details really hurt in the second half. The first part of the story works well with the character and setting development; however, the pace ends up too fast for its own good by the time the ending comes around.

Despite classification in the fantasy genre, there isn't much reliance on effects. What's there is passable, but it's nice to watch a film like this without the overdose of CG.

Award winning acting cannot be found here, yet everyone gets by. Saoirse Ronan is actually a delight on screen with her lively personality.

City of Ember has its ups and downs, and with that said the positives outweigh the negatives, thus making it a recommendable picture.

JY Skacto
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer


It's a weird movie. But wasn't boring. Watchable.

Dead Angel
Dead Angel

Super Reviewer

This movie has so much promise for its demographic. The themes, the visuals, the actors... but none of it comes together in a truly compelling manner that would move an older audience. In the end it's a coming-of-age movie full of obvious metaphors, allegory, themes and a cast of two dimensional characters that represent them. It's not bad, a pretty decent entry-level into the SciFi genre for younger generations. But I suppose the inaccessibility of the movie for us "old" folks brought about its own demise.

Drake Tsui
Drake Tsui

Super Reviewer

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