"This film centers around the bold and controversial nineteenth century author, George Sand, an unconventional woman who dressed as a man and flouted the social and sexual mores of her day. It is a wickedly funny film: sharp, biting, and clever. The sexually rapacious Ms. Sand (Judy Davis) sets her sights on the frail and finicky Frederic Chopin (Hugh Grant). Leaving a trail of outraged lovers in her wake, she devotes herself, heart and soul, to making Chopin her lover. Along the way, she finds obstacles thrust in her path, usually placed there by her erstwhile friend, Marie D'Agoult (Bernadette Peters), who is also smitten with Chopin, although she, herself, is the mistress of Franz Liszt (Julian Sand).Ms. Sand contrives to be with Chopin at all costs, in her quest to wrest his affections and capture his heart. She even brazenly invites herself for a stay in the country at the home of the Duchess D'Antan (Emma Thompson), once she discovers that Chopin is to be a guest, along with other artists of the period. This makes for some wickedly madcap moments. As her quarry makes Ms. Sand pull out all the stops, the viewer will be delightfully entertained by their antics.Judy Davis is sublime as the controversial Ms. Sand, infusing the role with intelligence and charm. Hugh Grant is perfect in the role of Chopin, who is overwhelmed by the persistent Ms. Sand. Emma Thompson, in one of her earlier roles, is absolutely hilarious as the Duchess D'Artan, the patroness of the arts, playing her character with complete comedic relish. The rest of the supporting ensemble also provide stellar performances. All in all, this is a very enjoyable and unusual period piece."
Thre is no double standard for George Sand
Movie Mania | Southern Calfornia | 09/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"James Lapine is best known as a playwright and director. He is most famous for his collaborations with Stephen Sondheim including Sunday in the Park with George, Passion and Into the Woods. He brings this talent to the big screen.
George Sand was a great French writer. Since society thought that women should be subservient housewives, George wanted to fly in the face of society. She wrote under a man's name and dressed like a man. She treated men as playthings. Therefore, she was the scandal and titillation of Paris.
That is until she is introduced to the shy Polish composer Frederic Chopin. When she hears his music, she becomes enchanted with him. But Frederic wants nothing to do with such a notorious woman. So George decides to give Frederic a woman that he wants.
This is a brilliant romantic comedy with a cast of up and coming actors. Judy Davis has always chosen interesting role from her early Australian films to her television roles. This is another great meaty role for Judy and she eats it up. Hugh Grant was a relative unknown when this film was made but this film would be the first of the quintessential Hugh Grant characters. In supporting roles are Lapine regulars Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin. Also in the film are early roles by Emma Thompson and Julian Sands.
If you are looking for something witty and intelligent, Impromptu is definitely the film to watch.
DVD EXTRAS: NONE "
Excellent, Entertaining Satire
Dexter Tay | 08/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I would unreservedly rate Impromptu five out of five after two viewings, the reason being it's the most successful period drama I've watched that combines history and farce in a most effectively entertaining manner.
Each of the main characters (practically everyone has a distinct voice) are imbued with nothing short of humour and definitive caricature - a steadfast George Sand, a neurotic Chopin, an irreverant Musset, a virile Delacroix, a hyperbolic, quietly intellectual and mild Liszt, a haughty, spiteful and duplicitous Marie D'Agoult and a hysterical Countess who has been so effectively parodied as the patron of minor talents but huge inheritance.
As with countless of historical dramas, Impromptu has not been spared a degree of measurement with regards to historical accuracy. I feel that a certain dispense from the facts is acceptable, so far as they remain relevant, and conducive to the development of the story and in this case, the humour.
Emma Thompson has proven time and again, her mastery of period drama and her multi-faceted talents.
Judy Davis and Bernadette Peters are truly brilliant and entertaining in their convincing and riveting portrayals of Sand (whom you love to emphatize with) and D'Agoult (whom you love to hate), eventually placed at loggerheads.
The DVD also comes with a French voice-over not found in many films of French background filmed in English. The dialogue is much more hilarious than the original in English! (especially with George Sand and Marie D'Agoult's parts)... A boon for viewers who wish to improve on their non-native language.
The soundtracks are strung together in a most admirable fashion, beginning most lightheartedly with Chopin's fleeting-paced but good-natured Impromptu in A flat, the theme of Sand's "romantic calling" in Chopin's first Ballade and the Fantasie-Impromptu near to the end of the film, which should be familiar to almost any viewer.
Lush orchestrations have been "mixed" in certain parts with the original solo piano excerpts to enhance the dramatic flow. Musical purists need not be overly concerned with this mild cosmetic effect.
Overall, it is a film I would recommend without hesitation to lovers of classical music, historical drama and comedy.
An Underappreciated, Rollicking Fun Time!
Albert M. Vojtkofsky | Dalls, TX | 03/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Impromptu is one of those films that you hear about...an underground following, and an incredible good time. Why is it that these films are the ones we never see in the theatre, but are usually 3 times better than what we currently are offered at the local multiplex.Judy Davis shines (as always) as authoress George Sand, a masculine woman writer who falls in love with the feminine pianist Chopin (played by Hugh Grant). Some fabulous writing here, and a chance for Judy Davis to let herself go and have fun. The script wouldn't exactly be Oscar nominated, but it is cleverly written, and the charactors are just too much fun.The list of Hollywood names in this film was overwhelming when I first saw it...each offering their own unique talents to keeping the film together. It was fun to see so many serious actors playing comedic roles.For fun, for romance, and for some awesome views of the French countryside, check out Impromptu...you'll be glad you did."
A delightful, delicious film
Joan Benny | Beverly Hills, CA USA | 04/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Impromptu" is truly one of the great little-known films. It is set in 18th century Paris, and stars Hugh Grant as Chopin and Judy Davis as George Sand. Others in the cast are Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, and a then unknown Emma Thompson. The story revolves around a week-end in the country at the home of a silly, bored woman (Miss Thompson), who wants to have some zest in her life, so she invites the literati of Paris to her home. They include Franz Liszt and his mistress (Miss Peters), Eugene Delacroix, and a poet or two. The week-end is the beginning of the famous Sand-Chopin romance. It is more fantasy than fact, but it is hilariousy funny, wonderfully romantic, and beautifully filmed. Directed by James Lapine with the gorgeous music of Chopin and Liszt. Mr. Grant is perfection as Chopin, and Miss Davis matches him all the way. Miss Peters is at her zany best. This film is truly a treasure."