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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

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

The film cast includes one Oscar winner: Gwyneth Paltrow; and three Oscar nominees: Nick Nolte, James Earl Jones, Ismail Merchant. See more »

Goofs

Jefferson was in Paris from 1785 to 1789, but is depicted as witnessing the Mongolfier balloon ascent (with sheep, duck, and rooster) which took place in 1783. See more »

Quotes

Thomas Jefferson: Independence is not a toy for children to play with, but the privilege of a fully matured mind.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing (2004) 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)
See more »

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User Reviews

Watch this film!
11 September 2002 | by cafeukSee all my reviews

I watched this movie last night. Unbelievably, Channel 4 (tv channel here in the UK) scheduled it at 2.15am - right in the middle of the night! Who on earth is likely to watch it at that time? I just hope some people decided to record it & watch it later.

I think its a great film. I couldn't stop watching it. It gives you an insight into Thomas Jefferson and his personal life, and into the French society of the time. The film is also visually great.

But, as with any movie, it has its flaws. My main criticism is that it was too much like an historical documentary. It didn't have the courage to speculate more about the relationship between Jefferson and Sally (the black slave girl). Jefferson must - in real life - have displayed more emotion with the slave girl than is depicted in this film, especially behind closed doors. Yet we don't see it. We see Jefferson being more affectionate with his daughter (Jefferson hugs her at one point in the film), than with Sally the slave girl, and yet he is supposed to have been passionately involved with Sally & fathered her children. Therefore it has a documentary feel to it, without any fictional element, which leaves the viewer somewhat detached & disconnected.

But credit to the maker's for tackling the subject, and it's certainly made me interested in learning more about the man.


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