|Jefferson in Paris|
Jefferson in ParisCast: Nick Nolte, Greta Scacchi, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Simon Callow, Seth Gilliam, James Earl Jones, Michael Lonsdale, Nancy Marchand, Thandie Newton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlotte de Turckheim, Lambert Wilson
Set in the period 1784–1789, the film portrays Jefferson as an ambassador at Versailles before the French Revolution. French liberals and intellectuals hope he will lead them away from the corruption of the court of King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette and toward a more democratic form of government. Although deploring the poverty of the common people, he embraces the riches of French culture and civilization. It is his first time abroad, and he takes advantage of the opportunity to extend his knowledge of liberal arts and science while absorbing the refinements France has to offer.
A lonely widower, Jefferson develops a close friendship with beautiful Anglo-Italian painter and musician Maria Cosway. Although she becomes increasingly devoted to him, his attachments to the memory of his wife, to whom he promised never to marry again, and to his two daughters, especially the elder, possessive Patsy, prevent him from committing fully to the relationship. At the same time, he succumbs to his attraction to his younger daughter Polly's nurse, Sally Hemings, his wife's half-sister, begotten by her father with one of his mulatto slaves. Sally's brother James also is in Paris, learning to prepare French cuisine for Monticello. When George Washington offers Jefferson the post of Secretary of State, he accepts and prepares to sail home with his family. But James, having enjoyed his freedom in Paris, is unwilling to return to the United States and urges Sally to remain with him. It is only when Jefferson promises he will give James and Sally, who is pregnant with Jefferson's child, their freedom that they consent to leave with him.