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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 <email@example.com>
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 »
I kept having a debate between my head and my heart.
Which in your case, the head always wins.
Not this time. My poor head was simply whirled around by my unruly heart.
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.
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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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