The City of Your Final Destination
At the urging of his domineering girlfriend (Alexandra Maria Lara), an attractively timid young academic (Omar Metwally) seeks authorization to write the biography of a late famous author. That means traveling to the celebrity’s luxurious Uruguay estate and negotiating with his executors (Laura Linney, Anthony Hopkins and Charlotte Gainsbourg), who might prefer just to keep prowling around and going at each other in genteel ways. The first movie James Ivory has directed since his longtime producing partner Ismail Merchant died in 2005 is an adaptation of Peter Cameron’s novel by regular Merchant-Ivory scribe Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. It seems cruel to carp about how it lacks the essential Merchant-Ivory magic, but elegiac charity won’t make this a better movie. There are glimmers of the great Hopkins guile and charm, the Linney exactness, but not enough to mitigate the periodically awkward presentation and raggedy narrative line. It is cozily literary and lovely to look at, of course, but also petrified and perhaps ultimately unnecessary.