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Jefferson in Paris (1995)

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 »

Director:

James Ivory

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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nick Nolte ... Thomas Jefferson
Gwyneth Paltrow ... Patsy Jefferson
Estelle Eonnet Estelle Eonnet ... Polly Jefferson
Thandie Newton ... Sally Hemings
Seth Gilliam ... James Hemings
Todd Boyce ... William Short
Nigel Whitmey Nigel Whitmey ... John Trumbull
Nicolas Silberg Nicolas Silberg ... Monsieur Petit
Catherine Samie ... Cook
Lionel Robert Lionel Robert ... Cook's Helper
Stanislas Carré de Malberg ... Surgeon
Jean Rupert Jean Rupert ... Surgeon
Yvette Petit Yvette Petit ... Dressmaker
Paolo Mantini Paolo Mantini ... Hairdresser
Frédéric van den Driessche ... Mutilated Officer (as F. van den Driessche)
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Storyline

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 slave Sally Hemings. JEFFERSON IN PARIS follows Jefferson to France (as the U.S. ambassador to the court of Louis XVI), following the death of his wife his friendships and flirtations with the French, his relationship with his daughters and slaves from home (especially Sally), against the backdrop of the beginning of the French Revolution. Written by Michael C. Berch <mcb@postmodern.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature theme, some images of violence and a bawdy puppet show | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | France

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

31 March 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jefferson em Paris See more »

Filming Locations:

France See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$61,349, 31 March 1995, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,474,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sally Hemmings' gown made from the patterned gray fabric selected by Thomas Jefferson and Mrs. Cosway is the same costume worn by Jessica Oyelowo (Sarah) in Sleepy Hollow (1999), and by Billie Piper (Fanny Price) during the play rehearsal scene in Mansfield Park (2007). See more »

Goofs

When Thomas Jefferson arrived in Paris, Louis XVI was still a 31-year old king and not a 63-year old Michael Lonsdale. See more »

Quotes

Thomas Jefferson: I kept having a debate between my head and my heart.
Maria Cosway: Which in your case, the head always wins.
Thomas Jefferson: Not this time. My poor head was simply whirled around by my unruly heart.
Maria Cosway: Oh-dear-God.
Thomas Jefferson: It kept telling me I love the lady and will continue to love her forever. If she were on one side of the globe and I on the other, I would pierce through the whole mass of the world to reach her.
See more »


Soundtracks

QUARTET OPUS 7, NO. 1 FOR HARPSICHORD, TWO VIOLINS & CELLO
Music by Johann Schobert
Performed by Simon Heyerick (violin), Bernadette Charbonnier (violin), Jory Vinikour and David Bahanovich (cello)
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User Reviews

 
Tedious as being there yourself
2 April 2005 | by MRavenwoodSee all my reviews

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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