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"John Adams"
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106 out of 118 people found the following review useful:

Magnificent work from HBO

Author: Schmiggy_JK23 from United States
16 March 2008

The first two episodes of this mini series have captivated me like very few things have. It is interesting to see a detailed look at the foundation of this great nation come to life instead of merely being read on page.

The cast is stellar. Giamatti is a great actor and he brings John Adams to life. Wilkinson as Benjamin Franklin is one of the highlights. The realism of the time frame is brought to life like few movies have done; accuracy in costumes, to architecture, and locational shots.

This is a truly moving piece, and a must watch for fans of history, and those with a appreciation of great cinema regardless.

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106 out of 120 people found the following review useful:

Historical Drama at Its Finest!

Author: lavatch from Twin Cities, Minnesota
16 March 2008

Although the miniseries title and episodes focus on the life of John Adams, the strength of the film lies in the exceptional ensemble cast. It was impressive to see such giants as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, as well as the lesser known individuals, truly inhabited by the actors.

The challenge of the series was to breathe life into those stories and lives we know so well. The filmmakers worked closely to David McCullough's outstanding book for the details, along with the human side of the story captured in the voluminous correspondence of John and Abigail Adams. The political, military, and personal issues were all thoughtfully brought to life. The design values of the film were also superb. Nothing looked stagy or stilted in the sets and costumes, which provided an unusual authenticity of period style for television drama. With each appearance of George Washington (David Morse), it was hard not to gasp due to the believability of his character.

The drama of America's breaking from England for independence was an improbable story and one dependent on the courage and idealism of the individuals portrayed in this film. The personalities of these great figures make this program an accessible and rewarding experience for the entire family. For the patient viewer, what emerges from the John Adams miniseries is not merely a history lesson, but a drama with great relevance today. Simply put, we need more people in our country right now just like John and Abigail Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Knox, and, above all, the ordinary human beings heroically portrayed in this fine film!

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85 out of 94 people found the following review useful:

Magnificent in every detail

Author: bobwen from NYC, United States
29 March 2008

The attention to detail in this mini-series only caps off the brilliant writing and acting, top to bottom. So refreshing to see this attention in simple things like seeing the cannons fire in the distance, THEN hearing the blasts several seconds later, as it is in real life... ditto thunder and lightning... brilliant. Even more importantly, seeing how our founding fathers (and mothers!) laid it all out on the line, risking life and property for ideas and ideals. This series should be mandatory watching in high school history classes from now on. It should also be mandatory viewing for our Congress, if only to remind them of what guts, personal conviction, and personal sacrifice in service to your COUNTRY is. Maybe today's leaders wouldn't be so quick to dismantle the Constitution if they see accurately what our ancestors went through to secure it in the first place. HBO, Tom Hanks, et al ... you are to be genuinely congratulated! And special thanks to David McCullough for the book, and the writers for their screenplays.

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78 out of 89 people found the following review useful:

Poignant and gritty!

Author: cbaker03 from United States
18 March 2008

As fine a political documentary as I have ever seen! Understated, yet amazing in its depth. Even the exhilarating music portends the events to come. A must see for those interested in how the nation they live in came to be. This film may upset some with its frankness of the times in which the characters lived, that said, I applaud that very frankness that allows us to see the people that supported and opposed our becoming a nation. A very "well done" to all those involved with the making of this ode to a time long gone. May we as a nation once more learn the lessons that came to be so well known by the majority of our "Founding Fathers"... AND Mothers.

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58 out of 68 people found the following review useful:


Author: alexmail-2 from United States
20 March 2008

"John Adams", the HBO series is by far the best Colonial film or series I have ever seen.

Paul Giamatti captivates viewers with a super performance. He has really given me a new respect for John Adams. Laura Linney plays Abigail Adams beautifully. She is wise and kind, but also is franc and honest.

The first two episodes are so incredibly accurate and indulging, that I feel like I am in the center of the American Revolution.

The script is brilliant. People speak the way colonials spoke. Adams lines just get better as the show goes on. HBO has truly made a brilliant masterpiece. A must watch for any history buff.

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52 out of 60 people found the following review useful:

Everyone should watch

Author: jmdstern from Atlanta, Georgia
20 March 2008

Given the current state of affairs, everyone should make time to watch this mini-series. It's refreshing to know that people though imperfect truly cared about the true nature of freedom. The actors do an outstanding job of portraying the flavor of the times, and the souls of their characters. For most of us the Declaration of Independence is taken for granted. It's wonderful to see how many struggled to unify this country and by no means was the thinking unanimous. I love Jefferson and his quiet nature, resorting to words on paper more comfortably than speaking in public.

For as much as I thought I knew about John Adams I'm finding I didn't know him at all. Pay close attention to the courtroom scenes and thank the stars that court room behavior has evolved since then. I'd hate to have to testify in an environment like that.

Watch this series and hope that some of our politicians today are watching too. I would hope that it might spark something inside them that has been buried in todays hypocrites

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43 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

Exceptional Performances

Author: irg from United States
20 April 2008

In the film industry we have seen many exceptional productions, made so by incredible special effects, animation processes, Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) and the like.

Seldom we find this same quality in the performance from the individual actors. More often we do recognize the difficulty, uniqueness and the gift that theater performances bring to their audiences. The gift of the individual performer is bared to the audience, where the audience feels the essence of the character transported by its performer.

The John Adams production has accomplished this by giving these performers the opportunity to display the essence of their talents. It is evident they gave their all.

The professionalism and talent of the entire production is of the highest quality, the realism and fidelity to the times is very impressive.

The attention to details, the very talented cast and the unique ability of Tom Hooper to capture what words cannot describe, has made this production a true work of art.

Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney professional eclectic careers are and will continue to define them as great actors. Both have reached for the best performance have not only achieved it but have surpassed it.

Paul and Laura do not only deserve the Oscar but they should be recognized has to have given their all, in an effort to help the audience better understand the complex multi-dimensional and existential realities of two historical individuals that have truly shaped the genesis and future the United States of America.

Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney have with their performance added the unique and the exceptional to an already fine production.

A truly multi-dimensional performance. Thank you Paul - thank you Laura for a rare gift.

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45 out of 56 people found the following review useful:

A wonderful, wonderful series!

Author: operamartyc from United States
19 March 2008

The production values are extremely high with excellent acting, design and costumes and I've only seen the first two episodes. The writing is wonderful! The series inspires me to read the book. The "making of" information was fascinating and the visual effects technology amazing! I've always loved your original movies with "My House in Umbria" my favorite until now - John Adams is your best offering yet! Thanks so much HBO and to all the cast and crew of the movie!!! The Los Angeles' Times review was wrong in its assessment of the series. I find every aspect of the series interesting and moving and of the highest quality! Looking forward to the DVD!!

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34 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

I can now name the 13 colonies

Author: Rogue-32 from L A.
17 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have to preface this by saying I'm not (nor have I ever been) a big fan of history or social studies; these were my least favorite subjects in school, mainly because they were presented in such a boring, uninvolving manner. I've never been big on historical drama movies either, but if you read my reviews at all, you know I love Paul Giamatti, and yesterday night I was mentally thanking the man repeatedly because if it weren't for him I most likely would not have been watching the first two episodes of what is shaping up to be the TV mini series of the decade, John Adams.

Not since Iron Jawed Angels have I seen a show based on historical events that is this inspired, moving, and both emotionally and intellectually riveting - it felt like I was taking a trip through history in a time capsule, genuinely being there in those early colonial days, when the idea of independence from Great Britain was controversial, revolutionary and shrouded in fear. But the core of the series is not political - it's the story of John and Abigail (I'm on a first-name basis with them now) and how they stayed together, raised a family and survived during this most trying time in a young country's history.

Giamatti and Linney bring extraordinary passion and complete believability to their roles, but the whole cast is brilliant here, the stand outs (from the first two episodes, besides Linney and Giamatti) being David Morse as George Washington, Tom Wilkinson as Benjamin Franklin, Stephen Dillane as Tom Jefferson and Damages' Zeljko Ivanek - who for some reason is not mentioned in the credits! - as John Dickinson, Adams' staunchest congressional opponent on the subject of independence. The scenes in Philadelphia, where the reps from all 13 colonies meet to hash out the situation, are magnificently compelling - you feel like you're there with them, seeing from the inside how our country actually came to be.

There's a great scene where John and Ben are reading Thomas' first draft of The Declaration of Independence (which John begged Thomas to write, saying that he himself was "obnoxious, suspect and unpopular" while Thomas was far more eloquent with his pen); they're editing it, beginning with the first line. This scene really evokes the feeling of how our independence came to be - it was forged by necessity, by these men who were literally flying blind, by the seat of their pants.

4/21/08 ~ Part 7, Peacefield: poetic, devastating and profoundly sad, the finale, which aired last night. Brilliant how they kept the focus on John and Abigail's relationship through all the political turbulence that had taken place in their lifetimes. At the end I felt like I had lived their lives along with them. Paul Giamatti's and Laura Linney's performances - TOWERING. Cannot heap the superlatives on this show high enough. A brilliant concept, breath-takingly realized in every aspect.

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31 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

I'm so confused

Author: tommull from Ann Arbor, MI
1 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So many of the comments posted here regarding this series are baffling. BORING? Because they aren't showing us the revolutionary war? Perhaps the title John Adams would be the first clue. This is the story of the man in the times not the times through the man.

Giamatti and Linney are giving the performances of their careers - the Emmys and Golden Globes are already in the bag. I find their relationship to each other and their playing of the reality of late 18th century life astonishing.

I think that Giamatti, Linney, Wilkinson, Dillane, Morse et al are turning these people (whom we tend to think of as stiff, formal oil-paintings or faces on currency) into fleshed-out, three dimensional human beings. In the fourth episode alone we had Giamatti's heart-breaking reaction to the news of Britain's defeat; the reunion scene between John and Abigail when they have no idea how to approach each other after so many years apart; Giamatti's first scene in the English court which captured both the magnitude and the discomfort of a moment that had never occurred before in history; and the moment between Adams and Washington after the oath of office where we realize that only THEN, in that moment, had the goal really been achieved.

This series is full of small, intensely honest moments – moments of real people caught up in a storm of their own creation but one that they have no way of being prepared for - and these moments, for me, are adding up to a very satisfying whole. In fact, it's made me rethink the whole Revolutionary era – but then, so did David McCullough's book.

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