This is the story of the future second American president during the time he spent as representative from America to the King of France during the 1780's. Thomas Jefferson (Nolte) has big shoes to fill following the service of Dr. Franklin in the French capital and the court of Louis VI. Jefferson is a widower and takes his oldest daughter Patsy (Paltrow) with him to Paris. When a younger daughter becomes ill back home in Virginia, Jefferson sends for his daughter Polly (Eonnet). She arrives with servant Sally Hemmings (Newton) to help run the household and be close to Mr. Jefferson's affections since he has decided to renege on his offer to wed Maria Cosway (Scacchi) after she departs for England. She is inconveniently the wife of a British artist and homosexual.
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Times are tumultuous in Paris at this time with events foreboding the onset of the revolution to come. Patsy is horrified by the lavish lifestyle at the French court and seeks only to join a convent to serve God. She is further unwound by the news that Sally is pregnant with her stepsister. Throughout the film Jefferson attends to business of a diplomatic nature fueling the growing yearnings for democracy in a France that has run out of patience with it's uncaring and despotic monarchy. It is his attention to personal matters that is dramatized on the screen and his illicit relationship with Sally Hemmings. He vows to grant freedom to Sally, her unborn baby, and her brother James upon their return to Virginia.
The review of this Movie prepared by David Fletcher