Impromptu (1991)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy of Manners, Romantic Comedy, Biopic [feature]  |   Release Date - Apr 12, 1991 (USA)  |   Run Time - 107 min.  |   Countries - France , United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Craig Butler

Literary and historical purists may likely be annoyed by Impromptu, as its accuracy is highly suspect, but audiences looking for a light romantic farce with a barbed edge will find it quite rewarding. Director James Lapine shows a very sure hand in his film debut, keeping the many inter-relationships of the large cast clear and always making sure the audience doesn't get lost amid the amorous complications. Bruno de Keyzer's cinematography, understated but effective, also helps, giving the film a distinctive look and feel. And Sarah Kernochan's screenplay is quite witty. (When George Sand's former lover tells her "You promised to love me," she dismisses him with a simple "I didn't promise to succeed.") Best of all is the cast, led by Judy Davis in another fully realized portrayal. She pulls the role of Sand on as if it were a second skin, creating a character that is wild, strong willed, exasperating, offputting, unorthodox, endearing and at all times original. Hugh Grant and Mandy Patinkin, both of whom can be overly mannered, turn in fine performances, Bernadette Peters is a petulant joy, and Emma Thompson is a surprise in an atypical role. Although there are some flaws -- for example, many will find the "rape" scene involving Delacroix to be in questionable taste -- overall Impromptu is a sparkling, refreshing little film.