Impromptu (1991)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Amandine Aurore Lucie Dupin, better known in the literary world as George Sand, not only took a man's name, but trotted around wearing pants and smoking cigars in public. No great shakes today, but in the 1800s she was perhaps the most famous (or infamous) woman in the world. One of the first original celebrities, aside from her garb and literary output, she was known to inspire many duels and broken hearts among other famous hedonist artists. One character describes her in Impromptu, as "that … More

Rating: PG-13
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Directed By:
Written By: Sarah Kernochan
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 19, 2002
MGM Home Entertainment


as George Sand

as Frederic Chopin

as Marie D'Agoult

as Alfred de Musset

as Franz Liszt

as Duchess D'Antan

as Mallefille

as Eugene Delacroix

as Duke D'Antan

as Sand's Mother

as Inn Keeper's Wife

as Chopin's Valet

as Maurice

as Philosopher

as Local Doctor

as Aurore

as Baroness Laginsky
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Impromptu

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Critic Reviews for Impromptu

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (8)

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.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

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

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

A disorganized, confusing but amusing biopic.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Impromptu


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

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

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

Super Reviewer

Impromptu Quotes

– Submitted by Frances H (13 months ago)
– Submitted by Frances H (13 months ago)
– Submitted by Felicia A (3 years ago)

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