Kate And Leopold


Directed by: James Mangold
Written by:James Mangold, Steven Rogers
Starring: Meg Ryan, Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Breckin Meyer, Natasha Lyonne
Released: March 14, 2002
Grade: C+

Poor Leopold.  Hugh Jackman plays the English duke from 1876 who on the eve of his 30th birthday, has travelled unwillingly to America to find a bride.  His father suggests he choose one of wealth because the family fortune has been recently depleted.

Poor Kate.  Meg Ryan is in New York 2001 and has broken up with her boyfriend Stuart (Schreiber) and is fighting hard at her marketing job to gain an important promotion.  It’s leaving her stressed and rundown.  Maybe she needs more iron in her diet?

But then something “extraordinary” happens.  Stuart finds the secret to time travel and goes back into 1876 and accidentally brings Leopold back with him.  Leopold meets Kate who goes through the whole “you’re not from the past” routine but they fall in love and she realises he is telling the truth.  Throughout this, whilst Kate has been at work, Leopold has been learning the ways of the 21st Century with the help of Kate’s brother, Charlie (Meyer).

I forgot to mention that Stuart fell down an elevator shaft and was taken to hospital.  He’s not allowed to make a phone call (um, why?) and so is trying to get out by Monday because that’s the only time frame at which Leopold can be transported back to 1876.  But will Kate and Leopold be able to cope with being separated again forever?

The film is a lighthearted romantic comedy.  Unfortunately, there’s no chance to lose one’s self in the romance because of the many inconsistencies in the subplot.  The finale is a perfect example.  I’m sure it went through many rewrites and it’s very, very stupid.  How can one make a film these days and not know the ending before starting?  It puzzles me too that DVDs feature alternative endings.  Seriously, if you don’t know how a film should end what’s the point of making it?

Our two leads give contrasting performances.  Hugh Jackman is fantastic and the only reason to see the film.  There’s no hint of an Australian accent and adds a sense of humour to the film.  On the other hand, Meg Ryan is flat.  Her hairstyle is dreadful and I’m sick of her taking these ditzy romantic roles too seriously (ala Hanging Up, You’ve Got Mail, City Of Angels, Addicted To Love). 

A few women in the audience laughed during this film.  I don’t know why.  Maybe they’ve been screwed too by men who gave them the old “sorry but I have to go back in time tonight” routine.  I wish I could go back in time.  Then I could travel back to the exact time when Miramax executives green lighted this project and hand them the above critique.