The City of Your Final Destination


The City of Your Final Destination (2010)


Critic Consensus: A stellar cast can't elevate this leaden adaptation that, while just as beautiful as anything director James Ivory's made before, comes off as dusty and dry.


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Historically noteworthy as the first Merchant Ivory production that lacked the involvement of longtime producer Ismail Merchant (he died three years prior to this movie's release), director James Ivory's The City of Your Final Destination embodies an adaptation of Peter Cameron's 2005 novel of the same name, written for the screen by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. Omar Metwally stars as Omar Razaghi, a young graduate student in the U.S. who wishes to author a biography on the late Jules Gund -- an enigmatic writer who spent his final years with his family in Uruguay, then committed suicide. Omar writes the Gund clan to request permission to pen the text, but is shocked and baffled by the family's refusal to comply. At the urging of Omar's forceful girlfriend, Dierdre (Alexandra Maria Lara), Omar books a seat about the next flight to Uruguay, visits the Gund enclave, and tries to persuade them to change their minds. Present are Gund's gay twin brother Adam (Anthony Hopkins), his widow Caroline (Laura Linney), his mistress Arden (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and his young daughter by Arden, Portia (Ambar Mallman). Omar works on the family members one by one, but runs into extreme difficulty both with Caroline -- a hateful woman bearing deep-seated resentments, who initially refuses to comply with the project at all costs -- and with Adam, who agrees to participate on the condition that Omar perform a dangerous favor in return. Meanwhile, passions begin to stir between Omar and Arden, and Dierdre decides to pay a visit. Unfortunately, The City of Your Final Destination received severely limited theatrical distribution, and failed to make much of a splash at the box office, despite favorable notices from a number of U.S. critics and Ivory's excellent track record. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for The City of Your Final Destination

All Critics (55) | Top Critics (19)

Slow, dull and wielding absolutely no emotional impact despite a fine cast.

Aug 13, 2010 | Rating: D | Full Review…
Detroit News
Top Critic

It's like Paul McCartney's songs after the split with John Lennon - there's some good stuff, but nothing classic.

Aug 1, 2010 | Full Review…

With a wimpy protagonist and a reticent director driving the story, The City of Your Final Destination doesn't go far enough.

Jun 25, 2010 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

A movie that feels as if it should have been a masterpiece. As it is, it's flawed, uneven work but deserves careful viewing.

Jun 25, 2010 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Like all Merchant/Ivory films, The City of Your Final Destination quietly shimmers.

Jun 18, 2010 | Rating: 3/4

What was intended as a tart elegy for a vanished way of life becomes a valedictory to a certain kind of filmmaking: beautifully appointed, intelligently played, and civilized into inertia.

May 27, 2010 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The City of Your Final Destination


Opulent visuals as usual from Ivory almost gives one to forget the slight tale of a writer who travels to Uraguay to try to save his career and, as John Lennon famously said "life happens" in the form of Charlotte Gainsbourg. Hopkins and Linney mail in their performances, but perhaps that's all that was required of them.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

A slow moving story of finding love. Interesting people may not always make the most interesting characters. The actors give strong performances, but the story just feels to drag.

Thomas Johnston
Thomas Johnston

Super Reviewer


Sometimes a movie is nothing special neither good nor bad just okay but contains within it a top flight performance, this is one of those films and Laura Linney's is the performance of note. She plays a woman who is icy and remote but thanks to her skill she makes her intriguing and at times very humorous. Why isn't this woman a huge star? Had she been around in the 30's and 40's she would have been right up in the forefront with Davis, Crawford and Barbara Stanwyck tearing her way through the grade A material. The rest of the picture is standard with beautiful cinematography but just an average story and the rest of the performers fail to impress.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Cast: Omar Metwally, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Linney, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Hiroyuki Sanada, Norma Aleandro, Alexandra Maria Lara, Kate Burton, Norma Argentina Director: James Ivory Summary: After duping school officials into awarding him a grant to write a biography on novelist Jules Gund, grad student Omar Razaghi (Omar Metwally) must travel to Uruguay to get legitimate authorization from the late author's three executors. My Thoughts: "What a complete absolute bore this film was. It's a character study film that's characters are boring and not interesting at all. The story goes nowhere in the almost two hour time frame. I had high hopes with greats like Anthony Hopkins and Laura Linney being in the mix, but even they couldn't pick this film off the ground. The acting wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great either. The story dragged on and on. I was impatient for it to be over with. I thought maybe the ending would be worth all the nothingness I sat through. Wrong. The ending was just as pointless as this entire film was. This film is one I would recommend other's to pass on.."


Super Reviewer

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