First of all you should know this is a comedy. Perhaps most people already know this, but because it's really hard to imagine a comedy in which one of the major characters is Frederic Chopin let's get that straight from the beginning. Secondly, it's not really about Chopin's music and though there is some in the film its never really the focus. The focus is the pursuit of Chopin by noted French author George Sand, played with remarkable intensity by Judy Davis, a performance that lifts the whole film from the trifle it otherwise might have been. Chopin is played by Hugh Grant, who actually does it well enough since this is a rather young Chopin. Chopin is too complex for me to imagine anyone playing him except maybe in his last years by Alan Rickman. Mr. Grant plays him dandyish and proper but not effete, though being Hugh Grant he always looks much too healthy to be the delicate composer. The rest of the cast are all notable actors playing notable Nineteenth Century Europeans, with Emma Thompson particularly fun as a ditzy Duchess.
The Movie divides itself naturally into two parts. The first is a country house comedy, one of those set ups where a group of people gather at a country estate where all types of things may ensue. In this case it's a slightly over-the-top comedy that borders on farce.At times it seems to get a bit too silly, then something happens that restores balance, like an incident where Chopin shows he has a sense of real human decency the others, for all their accomplishments, are lacking. Upon a return to Paris the movie shifts gears somewhat and becomes a more earnest story of Sand's growing infatuation mixed with serious concern about Chopin and her attempts to gain his affections. I find this part of the film much more affecting than the country house comedy and rather wish it had consistently been made in this tone rather than the farcical beginning.
Don't come thinking you're going to learn much about this group of luminaries of the 1830's because you won't. Though the characters are historic, most everything else is imaginary. Come for an enjoyable light comedy and you'll be satisfied.