Jefferson in Paris (1995)

PG-13   |    |  Biography, Drama, History

Jefferson in Paris (1995) Poster

One of the obsessive speculations in American history is whether Thomas Jefferson, in the years before he became president, had an affair with (and fathered a child with) his 15-year-old ... See full summary »

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  • Nicole Kidman at an event for Jefferson in Paris (1995)
  • Seth Gilliam in Jefferson in Paris (1995)
  • The freedom which James Hemings (Seth Gilliam, left) and his sister Sally (Thandie Newton, right) learn to cherish as members of Jefferson's entourage in Paris, is a sacred right they are reluctant to give up when their master decides to return to Monticello.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow in Jefferson in Paris (1995)
  • Nick Nolte and Greta Scacchi in Jefferson in Paris (1995)
  • Nick Nolte in Jefferson in Paris (1995)

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2 April 2005 | MRavenwood
| Tedious as being there yourself
It is documented that John Adams, second President to the United States, loathed Parisian excess and found the endless gossip, parading, and parties to be a bore. Thomas Jefferson, on the other hand, it is reported, liked Paris much better, and had a reputation of being more of a dandy than is portrayed in this film. Not only is 35% or more of the movie's dialogue in untranslated French, that is, without subtitle either, but the endless tedium of the suffocating excesses of 17th century France are too accutely conveyed. I found Nick Nolte uncompelling and Gwynneth Paltrow's performance doesn't seem like it was fully captured, somehow. The costuming is beautiful and particular attention seems to have been invested in hair and wig styling history. As far as the story goes, though, I kept wondering what Jefferson saw in either his European love interest, or in Sally Hemmings that drove him into the arms of either of them. The accents of all the actors just don't work for me. I didn't buy it that Sally Hemmings would have such a pronounced country accent after living exclusively with Jefferson and his immediate family for such a time, if anything, she would have picked up a French lilt to her speech.

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