City of Ember


City of Ember

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 126


Audience Score

User Ratings: 64,163
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City of Ember Photos

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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News & Interviews for City of Ember

Critic Reviews for City of Ember

All Critics (126) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (67) | Rotten (59)

  • Murray playing the glutton doesn't exactly fit the bill and for all the architectural care that's gone into Ember's creation, the secret at its heart is no mystery to us, the audience.

    Dec 12, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • 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

    Claudia Puig

    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

Audience Reviews for City of Ember

  • Sep 24, 2011
    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 T Super Reviewer
  • Aug 07, 2011
    The odd casting choices aside, this film feels like a film destined for the 80s but ended up being made too late. I can normally see where a film failed and this one lies on the shoulders of the director. The transitioning from animation to live action has resulted in a mixed bag and I'm puzzled how this choice was made. The lead actor looks much too old against the other younger actors, this type of casting is everywhere. I'm not sure what type of film they set out to make but it feels like producers had a heavy hand in the post production. There was a lot of potential here and the possible franchise had early death here. Hopefully the book series is worth a look to finish the storyline. 10-11-2017.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Feb 18, 2011
    Viewers not already familiar with Jeanne Duprau's 2003 novel will probably not care about the characters in the film nor believe its outlandish plot.
    Dillon L Super Reviewer
  • Jan 01, 2011
    Very, very weird, but in a good way
    Michael E Super Reviewer

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