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[Flashback review] ‘John Adams,’ Second To None

“Giamatti’s performance is captivating, often poignantly so. . . . Tom Wilkinson has a romp playing Ben Franklin. . . . Stephen Dillane’s Thomas Jefferson is a quiet, introspective scholar. . . . David Morse at first seems incongruous in the role of George Washington, but the performance proves canny and haunting, unlike any portrayal of Washington ever.”

by Tom Shales

“John Adams” dramatizes the life of the second president, a Founding Father whose name is familiar but whose persona isn’t. That is about to change. . . .

“Adams” is the kind of classily intelligent production that can be happily recommended to everybody. The filmmakers, including executive producer Tom Hanks, have attempted to re-create and enliven history — and they succeed grandly.

Although the production is immense, and scenic values are enhanced by impressive digital effects, the two most important assets to the production are Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney. These exemplary and versatile actors seem to “know” John and Abigail Adams as if they had lived next door to them for years and played cards with them weekly. Continue reading


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