Metascore
45

Mixed or average reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 22
  2. Negative: 4 out of 22
Watch On
  1. 50
    The team of producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory and writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala drops the ball with this droopy, snail-paced prigs-in-wigs movie.
  2. 50
    The movie tells no clear story and has no clear ideas.
  3. Jefferson in Paris is dull, sluggish and unfocused.
  4. Bereft of any flesh-and-blood honesty, the last half of the movie plays like a ludicrous PBS version of "Mandingo."
  5. Overshadowed by its own ambition and not-quite-ironic pageantry, Jefferson in Paris doesn't quite come to life.
  6. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    60
    This decorous look at the great man's five years as ambassador to France in the period leading up to the French Revolution touches upon much significant history, incident and emotion but, ironically, lacks the intrigue and drama of great fiction.
  7. A wax-museum movie that is both bland and reverential despite its focus on the great man's love life, Jefferson is hampered by its disconnected protagonist.
  8. Slow, beautifully filmed, Nolte's Jefferson implausible.
  9. This movie would have had a chance of being interesting had it been about Sally Hemmings.
  10. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    50
    But despite the vibrancy of its images and the exquisiteness of its craftsmanship, Jefferson in Paris doesn't often light a fire under its material. [07 Apr 1995]
  11. Reviewed by: Phillip Thomas
    40
    Sadly, beyond the wigs, costumes and exquisite set design, its a vacant enterprise.
  12. It is long, mediocre and rather pointless. [07 Apr 1995]
  13. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    50
    It's as if everyone was just a little too much in tasteful awe of its subject, who is played rather stolidly by Nick Nolte.
  14. Reviewed by: Amy Gamerman
    50
    It's beautiful to watch, but it doesn't cover very much ground. Sumptuously appointed, meticulously detailed, the film sallies forth - and sags. [06 Apr 1995]
  15. By the time [James Ivory and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala] get around to articulating a story, the inhibitions imposed by their "good taste" begin to seem more like gutlessness, and what initially promises to be an exposure of American liberal doublethink about slavery winds up as a querulous wimp out on a subject that the underrated "Mandingo" is better equipped to deal with.

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