KATE AND LEOPOLD
Stuart (Liev Schreiber) and Kate (Meg Ryan) have split up after four years, but Stuart
lives in the flat above Kate in Manhattan – trying to find solutions to time travel.
When he happens on a time portal off New York’s Brooklyn Bridge, he ends up exactly
where he wanted, in the New York of April 1876, where he attracts the attention of Duke
Leopold on the eve of Leopold’s betrothal. Leopold chases Stuart, only to end up in
21st Century Manhattan, where (after the shock wears off) he meets Kate, a high
ranking marketing executive. Kate finds Stuart’s explanation about Leopold hard to
believe, but he does seem different. And a real (romantic) gentleman . . .
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
I approached this film with caution, trepidation, even, after a fleeting glance at the
concept, but I was quickly won over by its disarming sense of fun, great performances and
some clever ideas smoothly executed. It’s a frolic, but a really funny and enjoyable
one, in which the inevitable romance is wrapped up in a well paced and likeable scenario.
The secret to romantic comedies is elusive, but one ingredient is credible characters,
even if the situation or plot is ‘high concept’. Another is a fresh concept. And
wit; there is never enough wit around in Hollywood screenplays, and more is the pity.
Kate’s ex and her brother (Breckin Meyer) get a decent smattering of the witty lines,
and deliver top performances. Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman are well matched in all senses:
physically, chemically (not that it’s a high-sizzle sexy film), and in acting
prowess. They both play the comedy pretty straight to great advantage, and Jackman’s
English Duke is a delightful portrait combining gentlemanly behaviour and a sharp wit. The
film looks great and Rolfe Kent’s score is an ideal balance of romantic and playful.
The combination of all the elements make the time jump an almost credible scenario, and if
you make allowances for the fantasy, the film brings home the bacon in crackling style.
And as the end credits roll, a nice bonus, as Sting sings Until.
Review by Louise Keller:
Allow time to stand still for two enchanting hours and meet Kate and Leopold, a romantic
comedy that delivers enough je ne sais quoi to charm your socks off. It's witty, funny,
uplifting, surprising, clever, entertaining and totally captivating. In fact I really
didn't want it to end. I laughed out loud, I shed a little tear and after being taken
totally out of myself, felt refreshed, optimistic and ready to face life's challenges.
That good? Yes, indeed. The premise of tripping through time is certainly not new, but
here, there is a certain freshness, elegance and authority. Besides, the performances are
so darned enjoyable. Much of the credit must go to Hugh Jackman, who gives an
award-winning superlative performance as the 19th century duke, whose title is
nothing but a chore. Tall, dark and handsome, Jackman never looks out of place, displaying
such class and timeless elegance. He carries himself with such dignity and grace,
inhabiting his character so perfectly, moments that might have ended up being rather
silly, become pivotal moments filled with infectious delight. Take the scene when Kate's
handbag is stolen: Leopold gallops to the rescue across the park on horseback, giving the
thief a dressing down he will never forget. Meg Ryan is lovely as Kate, effecting all the
mannerisms she has made into an artform over the years: the cute squishing nose, the pout
and the toss of the designer hair. Jackman and Ryan complement each other totally: there's
real movie magic at work here. Liev Schreiber (a highly under-rated actor) gives a great
comic turn, Breckin Meyer is terrific as Kate's young brother, and the whole cast is
… very well cast indeed. There are some wonderful lines that I would love to share,
but their impact would be lessened to repeat them here. You really need to see the film.
With a sharp, witty script, all the elements come together beautifully – an upbeat,
tantalising soundtrack, assured editing and imaginative production design. Together with
Leopold, we rediscover the (dubious) marvels of modern times – the television, the
toaster, frozen dinners, the ansaphone. Courtesy and manners never go out of style; style
is something that Kate and Leopold has in abundance, and we are reminded that love crosses
all barriers, including time.
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HUGH JACKMAN INTERVIEW by Jenny Cooney Carrillo
KATE AND LEOPOLD (M)
CAST: Meg Ryan, Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Breckin Meyer, Natasha Lyonne
PRODUCER: Cathy Konrad
DIRECTOR: James Mangold
SCRIPT: Steven Rogers, James Mangold
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Stuart Dryburgh
EDITOR: David Brenner
MUSIC: Rolfe Kent
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Mark Friedberg
RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: BVI
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 14, 2002
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: BVHE
VIDEO RELEASE: October 2, 2002