Watching a James Ivory film is like entering a room aglow with plush furniture and exuding tasteful music and promising comfort and a brush with sensuality. The people inhabiting that space, however, vary in appeal.
Omar (Omar Metwally), an academic desperate to obtain tenure by writing a biography of a dead Uruguayan novelist, is a drip. And his girlfriend, Deirdre (Alexandra Maria Lara), is a pill.
She goads Omar into traveling to the late author’s hacienda, a kind of backwater Xanadu, to wring authorization for the book from the executors of the estate — widow Caroline (Laura Linney), mistress Arden (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and gay brother Adam (Anthony Hopkins). Omar likes the place (who wouldn’t? — it’s the setting of a James Ivory movie), and the people are okay too. So it’s a pity that he must go through the motions of the plot in this lazy, lush adaptation of a Peter Cameron novel.