Saturday, August 16, 2008

Movie Review: Jefferson in Paris

Jefferson in Paris chronicles Thomas Jefferson's time in Paris as Ambassador, his relationship with Maria Cosway and the his slave, Sally Hemmings.
Nick Nolte's (Jefferson) acting is flat throughout the whole movie which makes it boring and not very convincing. I enjoyed the parts where he read from his letters on living in France because they provided some good insight into the king and queen and their court. Now I want to get my hands on his letters. Luckily, other actors made up for Nolte's lackluster performance. Thadie Newton (Sally Hemmings) and Greta Scacchi (Maria Cosway) do well in their roles.
The art direction and script gives one the idea of a miniseries rather than a full-fledged box office film. But what makes this movie worthwhile is the costume, hair and makeup. They are breathtaking. Every time Marie Antoinette appeared, she wore a costume based on one from a Vigee-Lebrun portrait, to great effect. I made the graphic to the right for comparison. There was so much attention to detail with the hair and costume that the movie is good for an aesthetic journey into 18th century France. In fact, I would recommend this movie only for the amazing costumes. The rest is not worthwhile. Here are some clips below of the fabulous costumes.

Photobucket collection of costumes

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