Jefferson in Paris

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: +1

His wife has been dead three years when Thomas Jefferson (Nick Nolte) leaves his beloved Monticello in Virginia to become the U.S. Ambassador to France. He takes one of his daughters, Patsy (Gwyneth Paltrow), with him. The French court is lavish, idle, intellectual and totally self-absorbed in worldly pursuits. There are rumblings of revolt from the masses, but Jefferson believes everything will work out. Personal conflict arises when Jefferson falls in love with a married woman, Marie Cosway (Greta Scacchi), in Paris. Patsy resents Marie because her father had promised her dying mother that he would never remarry. Patsy expected that she would be mistress of Monticello when she and her father return to the United States. She seeks solace in the Catholic church and even considers becoming a nun. Meanwhile, her sister joins them in Paris, bringing a young slave named Sally as her maid. While JEFFERSON IN PARIS is interesting from a historical standpoint, it is disappointing that it focuses more on Jefferson's weaknesses than his remarkable accomplishments.

The statesman who declared "All men are created equal" appears personally confused about freedom and equality. Jefferson's black slave discovers French servants are paid and asks Jefferson to pay him wages. Jefferson agrees, but only as long as they are in France. Also, he and the 15-year-old black slave, Sally, are shown together in bed. Although fully clothed in this scene, her subsequent pregnancy is the focal point of the movie. Jefferson has warned Marie she will not understand the relationship between Virginians and their slaves. Though in love, Jefferson and Marie do not become sexually involved. This is surprising, since Marie's husband is obviously a homosexual. Selfish indulgence and moral corruption are at a height in the prorevolutionary French court. However, the only overt vulgarity is a puppet show ridiculing Marie Antoinette in an obscene way. The masses are depicted as dirty and hungry, resorting to violence at times. When one of the angry protesters is arrested and hung, the hanging is implied by a view of his feet only. Skip this one. "All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God," but it's sad to watch this played out in the life of a great American.

Preview Reviewer: Margaret Reid
Buena Vista Distribution, 3900 W. Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA 91521

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Few (2) times (no f- or s-words)

Profanity: None

Violence: Few times - Moderate (brutal fox hunt; slave slapped; masses storm bakery, but no injuries; man hung, but not graphic)

Sex: None but implied once

Nudity: None; Near Nudity few times (women in low-cut dresses)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (young slave dances suggestively for master; crude puppet show)

Drugs: None

Other: Incestuous relationship hinted; seance for pain relief (not condoned)

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Older teenagers and adults

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