Synopsis by Nathan Southern
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.
academic [person], family, Iranian [nationality], persuasion, project [plan], refusal, rejection, South-America, suicide, university, writer