Sally Hemings: An American Scandal (2000) - Rotten Tomatoes

Sally Hemings: An American Scandal (2000)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

The story of the extraordinary, controversial thirty-eight-year relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slave mistress, Sally Hemings. The teenage Sally begins her unexpected relationship with widower Thomas Jefferson in Paris where he is serving as the U.S. Ambassador to France. After escorting Jefferson's younger daughter on a trans-Atlantic journey to join him in Paris, Sally is soon exposed to a world quite unlike the one in which she has lived as an illiterate slave in Monticello. While Sally serves as a nanny of sorts, Jefferson provides her with an education, fine clothes and opportunities to experience cultural events. She and her brother, James, who works as Jefferson's chef and was also educated by him, delight in the fact that they are free in France-and are treated with respect. It is under these circumstances that Sally and Jefferson become acquainted with one another and begin an affair that will ultimately lead to scandal.


Critic Reviews for Sally Hemings: An American Scandal

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Audience Reviews for Sally Hemings: An American Scandal


Superior made-for-TV fare, with solid acting, orchestral music score and cinematography. In fact it would probably look pretty good on one of the smaller screens of a multiplex theatre, or a school auditorium. It's also reasonably accurate historically, even if there's some necessary dramatic fictionalizing. About the only scenes that are clunkers are those set in Paris when Sally helps the protestor steal some bread, then benefits from his intervention in turn. Not necessary to the story anyway--best left on the editing room floor.

Hal Morris
Hal Morris

I have never seen any other stories about their relationship so I have nothing to compare this to and I am not sure how accurate the details are. That being said I think this was well done and it certainly portrayed a commited, loving couple despite the incredibly difficult problems attatched to their connection. It was simply accepted that the truth was never to be addressed even by family, even by his own children who it appeared hardly ever called him papa. I can only imagine the social consequences of that time. It proves they were two very strong individuals who chose to be together even if it meant giving up their rights to be married and accepted by everyone. Good performances by all.

sloopy chicken lips  (aka Cynthia)
sloopy chicken lips (aka Cynthia)

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