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The City of Your Final Destination

4.0 out of 5 stars 111 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

28-year-old Kansas University doctoral student Omar Razaghi has won a grant to write a biography of Latin American writer Jules Gund. Omar must get through to three people who were close to Gund - his brother, widow, and younger mistress - so he can get authorization to write the biography.

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The Merchant-Ivory filmmaking team (Howards End, A Room with a View) always took scrupulous care in their literary adaptations, bringing a tasteful point of view and a certain erudite wit. The City of Your Final Destination, based on a novel by Peter Cameron, has a literary concept even more page-bound than their usual productions, so director James Ivory and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala--longtime producing partner Ismail Merchant died in 2005--truly have their hands full. The setting is a country estate in Uruguay, the former home of a celebrated writer who committed suicide on the property. The survivors have repeatedly turned down the requests of a would-be biographer (Omar Metwally) to write about the dead man, so the scribe takes it upon himself to show up on their doorstep, leaving behind his somewhat pushy girlfriend, played by Alexandra Maria Lara (The Reader). He discovers an unusual family unit: the writer's widow (Laura Linney) and his mistress (Charlotte Gainsbourg) are living under the same roof, and a hedonistic brother (Anthony Hopkins) is also ambling about the property, his boyfriend (Hiroyuki Sanada) close at hand. Some days pass in idleness, as the subject of the biography comes and goes… an interlude that was perhaps more compelling in the novel than it is in the film. Ivory's touch seems tired, and the actors (an impressive ensemble, to be sure, including Norma Aleandro as a loud local lady) appear to be operating in their own zones and their own styles. Although the very handsome setting creates a pleasant lazy-Sunday atmosphere, the effect tends to tip over a bit too far into the soporific, and the whole thing might make you want to curl up with a good book instead. --Robert Horton

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Product Details

  • Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Omar Metwally, Laura Linney, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Hiroyuki Sanada
  • Directors: James Ivory
  • Writers: Peter Cameron, Ruth Prawer Jhavbala
  • Producers: Paul Bradley, Ashok Amritraj
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Screen Media
  • DVD Release Date: August 17, 2010
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003H8F2WI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,398 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The City of Your Final Destination" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 25, 2010
Format: DVD
Peter Cameron's elegant, wistful novel THE CITY OF YOUR FINAL DESTINATION has been well transitioned to the screen by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and director James Ivory: in so many ways this film brings a host of fond memories of all of the films made by the members of Merchant Ivory films. It has the same sense of grace of transporting one culture into another, of examining interpersonal relationships as they are tied to etiquette and tradition and family, and the chances we take in the name of self-fulfillment and love. It is a mood piece and a delectable offering for the brain.

Omar Razaghi (Omar Metwally) is a postgraduate student and instructor at a Colorado College, living in a tenuous relationship with Deirdre (Alexandra Maria Lara), and delaying his desire to write his PhD thesis -a proposed biography of deceased novelist Jules Gund. He is unhappy with his life, frustrated that his thesis committee will not approve of his dissertation unless he has the family of Jules Gund's permission to write the biography. After a little nudge from a colleague he decides to travel to Uruguay - without Deirdre - to gain permission from the Gund family to proceed. Deirdre, hurt because Omar wants to go without her, insists that Omar travel to Uruguay: this may his only chance to step out of the life whose rut he is in and move on to higher means.

Omar journeys to Uruguay where he meets the Gund 'family' - Gund's gay brother, Adam (Anthony Hopkins) and his lover of 25 years Pete (Hiroyuki Sanada); former wife Caroline (Laura Linney); and Arden (Charlotte Gainsbourg), Gund's mistress and mother of Gund's daughter, Portia. Though greeted with hospitality it is clear that the family, as executors of Gund's estate, refuse to give Omar permission.
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Format: DVD
There have been some truly great films created under the Merchant/Ivory banner. More than 20 years later, I can still enthuse rapturously about sequences from "A Room With A View," "Howards End," and "The Remains of the Day." Well "The City of Your Final Destination" is the first major release by director James Ivory since his long time producing partner Ismail Merchant died in 2005, so --in my book--its arrival was quite an event. In adapting Peter Cameron's novel, screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (a frequent Merchant/Ivory collaborator who won Oscars for "Room" and "Howards End") has created a high-minded and stylish literary adaptation. Ivory has assembled a terrific cast including Laura Linney, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Norma Aleandro, and Anthony Hopkins--so, all in all, sounds like a recipe for triumph! Well, here's my rave...."I liked it." Stately and elegant, there was much that I admired about "The City of Your Final Destination"--but ultimately, the film is a little bloodless, a little inert.

When doctoral student Omar embarks on writing a biography of recently deceased author Jules Gund, he initially receives a refusal to participate from Gund's family. Pushed by his aggressive girlfriend, he decides to challenge their denial and travels to Uruguay to visit the estate they all share. The three people standing in his way are Gund's brother (Hopkins), his widow (Linney) and his mistress (Gainsbourg). Omar is soon enchanted by Gainsbourg and befriended by Hopkins, and the book deal starts to seem secondary as he is accepted into this new lifestyle. Linney, his last obstacle, holds steadfast for reasons of her own. All the actors are nice--but while Omar is affable, he is also a bit vacant.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I won't go into the plot and the faithfulness with which it treats with the details of the book from which it is derived. I have not read the book.

James Ivory does not disappoint. This is a movie which struck so many chords with me. Having visited Buenos Aires and other parts of Argentina a few years ago, I identified with the sense of elegance which the film telegraphed both in terms of the gorgeous scenery and the people that it depicted. I recall walking in Recoleta and seeing middle aged very well kept women sporting their furs with a casualness which had long been abandoned in cities like New York years ago, in response to the vociferous anti-fur lobby. But then and there I thought Buenos Aires seemed stuck in a time warp slightly out of touch with a reality that the rest of the world had long since embraced. So too in this movie. Here was a group of people tolerating each other and existing in a world not sustainable anywhere else or in any other context. The author seeking his approval for execution of his precious biography of a deceased author, had a girl friend, Deirdre, who was almost literally disparaged for being too much of the real world and out of sync with the artifice of the gracious but dated Ocho Rios estate and its well-heeled inhabitants. But it was the navigation of that world with language and costuming that was so elegant and measured, that sets this film and its great cast led by Sir Anthony Hopkins, Laura Linney, Omar Metwally, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Hiroyuki Sanada, apart from the ordinary and the mundane.

This film despite being an ode to an upper class existence that most of us will never experience, confers credibility on it and makes us ordinary folk very much interested in how this all turns out for these sorry bunch of misfits bent on validating each other's existence in this finely wrought but fragile world.
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