fellow countrywoman

Impromptu (1991 film)

Impromptu is a 1991 movie, based on a screenplay written by Sarah Kernochan, directed by James Lapine, produced by Daniel A. Sherkow and Stuart Oken, and starring Hugh Grant as Chopin and Judy Davis as George Sand. This movie was rated PG-13 by the MPAA. Impromptu won the award as Audience Favorite at the Houston WorldFest Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS's Masterpiece Theatre (1993). The film was shot entirely on location in France as a British production by an American company.


Since getting divorced, Baroness Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin, previously Baroness Dudevant, the successful and notorious writer of sensational romance novels now living under the pseudonym George Sand, in Paris, has been in the habit of dressing like a man. In her romantic pursuit of the sensitive Chopin, whose music she fell in love with before seeing him in person, George/Aurora is advised that she must act like a man pursuing a woman, and also advised to avoid damaging his health by not pursuing him at all. With this advice Sand is betrayed by a fellow countrywoman who is also smitten with Chopin, the mistress of Franz Liszt, the Countess Marie d'Agoult, who is not able to get a divorce.

Sand meets Chopin in the French countryside at the house of the Duchess d'Antan, a foolish aspiring socialite who invites artists from Paris in order to feel cosmopolitan. Sand invites herself, not knowing that several of her former lovers are also going to arrive. A small play is written by Alfred de Musset satirizing the aristocracy, Chopin protests at his lack of manners, de Musset bellows and an explosion ensues.

Sand wins over Chopin through impressive memorization of her own work and swift publishing ability, trumping d'Agoult's theft of a letter which might have caused Chopin to choose the countess over the former baroness. Sand eventually gets to participate in a duel for Chopin, because he fainted during the face-off with Sand's children's tutor, who has been successively challenging each of Sand's other lovers, and suspected lovers.

When Sand and Chopin get together, they dedicate a volume of music to the countess to give her some satisfaction, although this only suggests that she has had an affair with Chopin, causing a falling-out with her lover Liszt. Sand and Chopin depart for Majorca, relieved to escape the competitive nature of artistic alliances and jealousies in Paris.



Soundtrack listing




Awards and nominations

Independent Spirit Awards

  • Best Female Lead--Judy Davis (WINNER)
  • Best Supporting Female--Emma Thompson (nominee)

External links

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