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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.

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SCM81014 City of Your Final Destination DVD (2009/Anthony Hopkins) $14.98