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.
I really enjoyable romp with a cast that is to die for.
Interesting character studies of some of the artistic greats of the period as well as a look and the strange realtionship between the aristocracy and the artist of the time.
Not sure how historically accurate it is...but it is well written, excelently acted and very enjoyable to watch.