Impromptu (1991) - Rotten Tomatoes


Impromptu (1991)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Judy Davis stars as French novelist George Sand in this romantic comedy, set among a loose-knit society of writers, artists and composers living in mid-19th century Europe. After converging on the country estate of the Duke and Duchess d'Antan (Anton Rogers and Emma Thompson), Sand and her friends--poet Alfred DeMussett (Mandy Patinkin), painter Eugene Delacroix (Ralph Brown), and composers Franz Liszt (Julian Sands) and Frederic Chopin (Hugh Grant)--spend their summer coping with romantic folly and enriching the tastes of their hosts.

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Judy Davis
as George Sand
Hugh Grant
as Frederic Chopin
Bernadette Peters
as Marie D'Agoult
Mandy Patinkin
as Alfred de Musset
Julian Sands
as Franz Liszt
Emma Thompson
as Duchess D'Antan
Ralph Brown
as Eugene Delacroix
Anton Rodgers
as Duke D'Antan
Anna Massey
as Sand's Mother
Jezabelle Amato
as Inn Keeper's Wife
Claude Berthy
as Chopin's Valet
David Birkin
as Maurice
Nicholas Hawtrey
as Philosopher
Francois Lalande
as Local Doctor
Lucy Speed
as Aurore
Elizabeth Spriggs
as Baroness Laginsky
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Critic Reviews for Impromptu

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (9)

Anna Massey, who appears fleetingly as Sand's mother, offers a demonstration of how to make an overpoweringly fine impression in only a few minutes' time.

May 20, 2003

Despite all this assembled talent, the film stubbornly refuses to come to life.

May 12, 2001

A blissfully high-spirited romp about the circle of writers and musicians in 1830s Paris.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

A disorganized, confusing but amusing biopic.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

As a salon full of characters, Impromptu provides great fly on the wall fun.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Director James Lapine pushes the story to its entertaining fullest, exuding a period-costumed sense of fun.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Impromptu


"Impromptu" is fun to watch. Even more impressive is that it is based on fact.

Red Lats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer

George Sand courts Chopin amid 19th Century social conventions including duels and the oppression of women. A lush costume drama with strong performances by Judy Davis and Mandy Patinkin, Impromptu has all the trappings of a Merchant/Ivory production. Its sly wit and subtle conflicts are always engaging, but what sets this film apart from some of the - for lack of a better word - boredom of Merchant/Ivory's work is the performance by Patinkin. Riding into a woman's bedroom on a horse, drunkenly shooting the officiant of a duel, and a garrulous braggart demeanor, Patinkin injects some energy to a film that desperately needs it. Davis's portrayal of George Sand is believable; no actress can capture Sand's masculine guise and still retain a strain of femininity like Davis. What bothers me about the film is how the story ends up reinforcing the gender conventions of the time. George Sand pursues Chopin in a hybrid of a masculine assertiveness, but her eventual victory comes with subverting her desires to what's required of a typical female in the 19th Century. Even the man, Chopin, rows the boat in the final montage of coupledom bliss. Overall, I liked Impromptu for Patinkin and Davis, but George Sand, a revolutionary feminist figure, deserved a better fate.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


Suppose for a moment that the basis of all good art (or bad art for that matter ... let's just say Art) was the hot flush of Love's Sweet Call (or Lust for that matter). So then in Europe, in the early 19th Century, a famous collection of artists pursue one another with insane passion, their emotions the fuel for the works we know them by. Here's the unusual plot for a different romcom, a period piece about the rock stars of their day and there's not much to it more than rock has provided us: gender confusion and the usual romcom comedy of errors. There's good ideas here only not completely drawn out.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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