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      Jefferson in Paris

      PG-13 Released Mar 31, 1995 2h 19m History Drama List
      31% Tomatometer 16 Reviews 35% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings His wife having recently died, Thomas Jefferson (Nick Nolte) accepts the post of United States ambassador to pre-revolutionary France, though he finds it difficult to adjust to life in a country where the aristocracy subjugates an increasingly restless peasantry. In Paris, he becomes smitten with cultured artist Maria Cosway (Greta Scacchi), but, when his daughter visits from Virginia accompanied by her attractive slave, Sally Hemings (Thandie Newton), Jefferson's attentions are diverted. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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      Critics Reviews

      View All (16) Critics Reviews
      David Ansen Newsweek There's no moment in Jefferson in Paris when you can feel why the filmmakers had to tell this story. All dressed up, this elegant movie has nowhere to go. Feb 16, 2018 Full Review Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly Rated: C Sep 7, 2011 Full Review Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times What is it about? Revolution? History? Slavery? Romance? No doubt a lot of research and speculation went into Jhabvala's screenplay, but I wish she had finally decided to jump one way or the other. The movie tells no clear story and has no clear ideas. Rated: 2/4 Jan 1, 2000 Full Review Chuck O'Leary Fantastica Daily Rated: 3/5 Oct 6, 2005 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Rated: 2/5 Jul 6, 2005 Full Review Steve Crum Kansas City Kansan Aka the affairs of Jefferson. Handsome production. Rated: 3/5 Oct 16, 2004 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      BelmontRose1 Most American movie goers would not appreciate this movie - rather looking for another plane /car /train crash with guns blazing in as many scenes as possible and with at least one expletive every five minutes instead of a film with meaningful dialogue. Jefferson in Paris was a terrific film. It exposed and examined Jefferson's split personality - creating the Declaration of Independence, insisting he wanted slavery abolished, but keeping a female slave and starting her sexual abuse at age 16. He also kept his eldest daughter tied to him for his entire life, living in his home although she married and had many children. This film was made in 2004, but has as much relevance today as it did then. The first stirrings of the French Revolution were touched on and how the powerful rich believed nothing could touch them. That was proved an illusion when the poor, starving masses began the "Terror," killing every aristocrat they could find. The inequities between the rich and the poor is as great today as it was then and when people have nothing to lose, revolution ensues. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/23/23 Full Review Audience Member I'm very surprised at the low rating of this film, which I found fascinating if only for the view we get of French high society just before and at the start of the French Revolution. I loved the glimpses we got of French Opera, the Montgolfier brothers' balloon, Franz Mesmer's experiments, the Royal Court, and a Convent school. All of these are recreated in lavish detail. A considerable amount of the dialogue, especially during the first half of the film, is in French. I can only assume that for many viewers all this detracts from the central drama of the rivalry between three women for Thomas Jefferson's (Nick Nolte's) affections: his troubled and possessive daughter Patsy (Gwyneth Paltrow) whose love for the church threatens to supplant her affection for her father; Maria Cosway (Greta Scacchi), an Anglo-Italian artist and musician whose marriage to painter husband Richard (Simon Callow) is one of convenience and not of passion; and Sally Hemings (Thandie Newton), a young slave who is a much loved nursemaid to Jefferson's younger daughter Polly but also half-sister to his late wife and very much on the cusp of womanhood. Added to this is another family drama, the tension between Sally and her brother James, who has been brought to Paris to learn the secrets of French Cuisine, but who also comes under the influence of revolutionary ideas and yearns for his freedom. These intimate dramas are all very civilised and restrained, somewhat in contrast to the increasing lawlessness around the protagonists as the revolution gathers pace, but as a stiff upper lipped Brit I enjoyed all the suppressed emotion and coded conversations, and didn't find the film overlong despite its considerable length. But what we see also poses questions about who the liberty and equality promised by the American revolution and the coming French one is for. With so many ingredients, this is certainly more of a sprawling royal banquet of a film than a perfectly arranged nouvelle cuisine dish, but in an age where "The Crown"'s recreation of the British Royal family's doings has been such a success I think it perhaps should be better received now than when it was first released. Perhaps not quite such an elegant delight as some of their other films, but still a very worthy opus in the Merchant Ivory catalogue, and I think very much underrated by both critics and audience. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 01/16/23 Full Review Audience Member I saw it in the cinema and thought my oh my it's a superb film, the colours alone make it an exceptional movie. Then I saw the low score here! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/12/23 Full Review Audience Member This is an underappreciated film. Its a difficult subject that makes people uncomfortable, but the film is well researched - Thandie Newton is wonderful as Sally Hemiings and its not an accident that you can actually feel Nolte's Jefferson relax when he is with her - thats part of the point of the story. Contradictions everywhere. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/20/23 Full Review Audience Member good historical drama Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/21/23 Full Review Audience Member A bunch of supposition unsupported by the known facts but a handsome production, if a bit overlong. Jefferson's daughter Martha Jefferson Randolph, by all reports a vivacious charming girl, is done an injustice by way of the sulky, petulant flat performance Paltrow gives of her. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      Jefferson in Paris

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis His wife having recently died, Thomas Jefferson (Nick Nolte) accepts the post of United States ambassador to pre-revolutionary France, though he finds it difficult to adjust to life in a country where the aristocracy subjugates an increasingly restless peasantry. In Paris, he becomes smitten with cultured artist Maria Cosway (Greta Scacchi), but, when his daughter visits from Virginia accompanied by her attractive slave, Sally Hemings (Thandie Newton), Jefferson's attentions are diverted.
      Director
      James Ivory
      Producer
      Ismail Merchant
      Production Co
      Touchstone Pictures, Merchant Ivory Productions
      Rating
      PG-13
      Genre
      History, Drama
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Mar 31, 1995, Limited
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Mar 1, 2013
      Box Office (Gross USA)
      $2.5M
      Runtime
      2h 19m
      Sound Mix
      Surround, Stereo
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