54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Hands down, this romantic comedy is a Hugh Jackman vehicle, as he totally steals the show from Meg Ryan. Jackman plays the role of the Duke of Albany, Leopold Mountbatten, an English nobleman visiting his uncle in New York in 1876. At his uncle's behest, Leopold is to find a rich socialite to marry, so that he may replenish the family's depleted coffers.
While at a ball in his uncle's New York house, awash with rich and eager heiresses, he notices a stranger who had earlier caught his attention. He follows the stranger and finds himself in the year 2001, as he falls through a portal in time. Landing in the apartment of Stuart Besser (Liev Schreiber), the stranger whom he had followed, he soon meets Kate McKay (Meg Ryan), Stuart's former girlfriend of four years and a modern day everywoman. Let the games begin.
What follows is nothing earth shattering. In fact, it is pretty predictable. Leopold and Kate fall in love, though the big question is why, as there is nothing to suggest why they should. Meg Ryan does her usual Meg Ryan thing, though she is starting to get a bit little long in the tooth to be playing the brash, cutesy ingenue. She is, in fact, getting to be quite tiresome in these sorts of roles, as she plays them all exactly the same, making them virtually indistinguishable one from the other. She needs to extend her range, before her adoring public stops adoring her.
Jackman, however, does a star turn with his gently effective and ingratiating portrayal of Leopold. He is simply sensational. Charming, handsome, and warm, with a light British accent that rings true, he is totally believable as a chivalrous gent from another time. Jackman totally upstages Ryan without meaning to do so. It is a good thing that he does. Were he not to have done so, the film would most likely have totally tanked. Clearly, Hugh Jackman is big time, leading man material.
Liev Schreiber is unappealing as the film's erstwhile time traveler and Kate's ex-lover, Stuart Besser, who, it turns out, is the great, great grandson of the Duke. Moreover, it is not believable that Stuart and Kate would ever have dated, much less have been lovers for four years, as there is no chemistry between them. Still, it is more believable than the relationship which blossoms between Leopold and Kate. The happy ending also makes Stuart's and Kate's former relationship somewhat distasteful, if not downright incestuous, in retrospect.
The rest of the supporting cast is fine with an excellent performance by Breckin Meyer in the role of Charlie McKay, Kate's somewhat goofy, but lovable, cute, younger brother. Bradley Whitford of West Wing fame also gives a winning performance as J.J. Camden, Kate's smarmy boss, who ultimately has second thoughts about what constitutes professional behavior and lets the cream rise to the top, so to speak.
All in all, this is a moderately entertaining film, all but forgettable, but for the memorable performance of Hugh Jackman.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Kate and Leopold is one of those adult fairy tales set in modern times. At least partially so! Director James Mangold chooses to focus not on the story of time travel, as discovered by a
nondescript New Yorker bachelor who travels through a "portal" (Liev Schreiber, apt and amiable), but rather on the romantic events of the Duke he brings back with him to the future.
That Duke, Leopold, as played by Hugh Jackman, has traveled some 130 years in time, from late 19th century New York, where he lived as a titled British transplant, searching for love and wealth...and finding neither. Naturally, in the most serendipitous of ways, he meets Kate (Meg Ryan), a marketing research exec, fiercely career-oriented, but as vulnerable underneath as Meg Ryan was in "Sleepless in Seattle" and "You've Got Mail". Unfortunately, her hairdo leaves something to be desired, and her choice in clothing is mannish and severe, but Ryan's charm makes Jackman's crush believable.
Your surprised that Tom Hanks has been supplanted by Hugh Jackman. Hugh Jackman? Nah...wasn't he a hairy super-hero in X-Men? You'd think he was playing against type until you see his performance here. He's marvelous. Believable, confident, playing this role as Ben Affleck never could, Jackman gets the largest round of applause for making this movie a commercial and DVD success. He's immersed himself in 19th century manners, etiquette and deportment, but is still vulnerable and kind. The movie plays for laughs somewhat, on his introduction to timeless Americana such as ketchup, Tater Tots, and scooping up the dog doo after you walk your monster dog in Manhattan.
If the real market research experts are watching, Affleck, etal., may never win another romantic lead again!
So, of course, there is the crisis, the separation, and eventually the film finds a way to end happily. Bradley Whitford of The West Wing is terrific as JJ, Kate's supercilious and vain boss, and I love Brecklin Meyer as Kate's brother...he's thick enough not to realize that Jackman isn't just acting his historical role, yet bright enough to realize that he has just as much ability to be charming as Leopold, once he figures out how to lose the attitude.
I liked the film a lot!
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Ah! The casting is the thing that makes this delightful romantic comedy work so well! Meg Ryan is at the top of her comedic form as is relative newcomer Hugh Jackman in this tale of star-crossed lovers from different epochs falling deliciously head over heels for each other despite all the differences supposedly separating them. For anyone waxing nostalgic about the lost values and manners from the past, the series of situations and gags involving exactly those characteristics in a wistful recollection of how charming and wonderful such luxuries as manners can be.
Alas, fellow travelers of the time continuum; we happen to live in a time almost totally bereft of any personal knowledge of the human comfort and shelter such social practices can bring to both ourselves and to others, of the ways in which a disciplined code of consideration of others and a corollary code of conduct act to smooth the social waters we must trudge through in our daily quest to make our livings, meaningfully interact with others, and find some semblance of meaning and purpose in so doing. Thus, Jackman's character acts to reaquaint Ryan's with the delicious luxury of time-honored cultural practices and dutiful manners, and she falls as much for the lost treasures of being treated with courtesy and consideration as for the man treating her with such unusual (for our time) deference.
The script is lively and entertaining, and the building of the romance quite believable and engaging, as well. The use of the difference in expectations and the differences in each of the principal's world view for comedic effect is also a lot of fun, and the intelligence and wittiness of the dialogue is unusual, to say the least. This is a well acted and well-thought-out thought piece disguised as a romantic comedy, and it works very well indeed. Two thumbs way up for this one! Enjoy!
32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
What a charming pair Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman make! This romantic comedy is about the Duke of Albany, and while hosting a party in 1876 he notices someone that doesn't belong at his party. When he follows him, he literally like "Alice" falls into the rabbit hole and travels through time to the year 2001. Stuart Besser found this hole thru time making time travel possible, and he takes it upon himself to introduce the Duke to the future while trying to find a way to get him back where he belongs. When Leopold meets former Besser girlfriend Kate, they can't help but fall in love.
Yes, this is a completely predictable movie, but so what! It is the ultimate in romance, and we all need to dream a little bit.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2002
This was one of the best romantic comedies that I've seen in a long. Ladies, if you're looking for a movie to curl up and stay at home with, well this is it. The movie is predictable in the sense that the boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, girl gets her man on the end. However, from the beginning to the end its a really good movie. I was not disappointed when I left the movie theater. I can hardly wait until its released on video on June 11.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2002
I loved this movie! I rented this movie last week and was very pleased. I am a Meg Ryan fan and definitely became a fan of Hugh Jackman! I went right out and bought the DVD that weekend. I watched the Original version and the Director's Cut. The Director's Cut is definitely better. It adds more history to Kate's character and helps the story flow more smoothly. The character of Leopold, Duke of Albany is excellently played by Hugh Jackman. Meg Ryan was her same cutsy self with a layered mop hairdo. However, this wasn't one of her best movies. Liev Schreiber and Breckin Meyers were also excellent in their roles. Breckin was really funny when his character "Charlie" was "in the zone" with his favorite girl and his replaying of Leopold's conversation about the Louvre. I think that is when Leopold realizes that he is falling for Kate. I love the scene where Leopold is sitting next to Kate in the restaurant and corrects J.J. on the location of his English home, the opera's characters and his view of J.J.'s trying to seduce Kate. My favorite scenes were Leopold's rescuing of Kate at Central Park; the rooftop dinner and dancing; the following morning when he made breakfast and the dishwasher lesson; the finding of his uncle's house; the evening listening to the soundtrack of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and his tucking in and snuggling with Kate. Did you notice when Leopold called Kate "Your Grace"? I particulary like the part where Kate realized that she really loved Leopold and was willing to take that "leap of faith" off the Brooklyn Bridge to be with Leopold, because it meant that she was willing to leave her family and career to find love and happiness with somebody that treated her with love and respect. Who in their right mind would turn away from that? (I certainly didn't when I moved from CA to NJ to be with the man I loved.) I wish that when Kate and Leopold were dancing after Leopold announced his bride, the script could have gone further with the culture shocks that Kate would have experienced in the late 1800's. Then of course, that's the perfect excuse for a sequel! Overall, this movie was lovely and it became one of my favorite movies. I am sure that I will watch this many times over. This movie makes you want to travel time to find your own duke!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
With the string of mostly clean, viewer friendly movies I've been seeing lately! Movies I LOVE, without ANY scenes that I'm embarrassed to watch with my parents. Kate and Leopold is another old-fashioned, clean-cut new classic, joining the other new, family friendly films such as The Majestic, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars Episode 2, and Spider-Man!
Kate and Leopold is the story of two lonely people from different times. Leopold (Hugh Jackman) is a young duke from the 19th century, who's family has moved to America and squandered away their fortune. As a result, Leopold is now being forced to choose a wife. The problem is, Leopold is not in love. Kate (Meg Ryan) on the other hand, is a New York City girl who has recently and bitterly broken up with her longtime boyfriend, Stuart, an inventor who has discovered a portal through time. Stuart leaps through his new discovery and unintentionally brings Leopold, his great, great, great (I forget how great exactly) grandfather, back with him to modern day New York City. From here we get a charming fish out of water love story reminiscent of Splash, but maybe a little less bizarre. Just a little. While Stuart is in the hospital recovering from an elevator accident, Leopold charms his way into various people's hearts, and becomes a bit of a role model for Kate's younger brother, Charlie. Eventually, Leopold even manages to charm his way into Kate's battered heart, and, being Meg Ryan, she manages to charm him right back. But while this odd romance is blossoming, Stuart is telling his time portal story to the hospital doctors and nurses, who take it all in with more than a grain of salt. He soon finds himself in a psychiatric ward, desperate to break out and find his way back to his ancestor and the time portal. He fears that if he doesn't send Leopold back to his own time soon, he, himself, will cease to exist!
Kate and Leopold reminds us that a film can be funny, heartwarming, sweet and charming, without a lot of foul language, gratuitous footage, and innuendo. This is simply a charming love story, with endearing characters and a touch of fantasy. There's nothing more to say about it, except that you should pick up a copy today!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2002
I feel the performances of Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman were wonderful. The openness of "their inner feelings," was particularily both unusual and delightful. The characters were beliveable and likeable. The vulnerably of "Kate" was something most women can relate to and "Leopold" could have won the heart of any woman in today's world. The unusual twist at the end was fantastic as well. As an avid movie goer and watcher, I can generally figure out the ending within the first 20 minutes (or less). This ending came as a complete surprise which mad the movie even more enjoyable.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2002
"Kate and Leopold" is, no matter what fans of Meg Ryan say, Hugh Jackman's film. He alone lifts this rather lukewarm work up to the level of watchable, enjoyable movie, and he alone deserves good mention from every lovers of romantic comedy.
So, the story is simple; for some reason or another, a 19th century gentleman Leopold falls in a rift of time so that he comes to modern-day New York of the 21th century, and meets Kate, working for advertizing company. That's it. Leopold, clad in Sgt. Pepper clothes, shows his old-fashioned manners and deportment around in the everyday life of cynical Kate, who doesn't believe a single word of Leopold, but soon finds herself drawn affectionately to this strange guy.
As I said, guys, if you don't like these 'chick films,' just watch Hugh Jackman and skip the rest of it. He IS worth it. With ease he shows how to grab women's heart, and the great thing about him is, he looks like a real gentleman living in Victorian age. And moreover, guys, try to learn his humors, which are of course the essential part of his exuding charms. The way he speaks some English words only makes a fresh version of "Englishman in New York."
About other players, it must be said that director James Mangold didn't do his homework at all, simply content of getting Meg Ryan here as the lead. Frankly, all I can say is she has played this kind of roles too much. And other supporting roles are, most regrettably, squandered. You see sweet Natasha Lyonne, but her role (as a secretary) is too small; with a defter director, she could be better used, or more simply, switch the role of Meg and Natasha, which would give a fresh view to the entire work. And you leave your seat for a minute, and you will miss the brief, too brief scene of Spalding Gray, whose presence would have given more (quirky) energy to the film than any other players here. Liev Shreiber and Breckin Meyer appear, but both of them are not allowed to do anything except what they had previously did somewhere else, like "Sphere" or "Road Trip." Shame.
Overall agreable romance, if you are not trying to find fault with the time-travel setting of the film, which is not the point of the film. Still, those who loved this would agree with my opinion that "Kate and Leopold" could be much better with a better-crafted script (the ending especially looks too hurriedly done). For rainy Sunday afternoon, but you have another choice of far more romantic "When Harry Met Sally..." or "Sleepless in Seattle" just in case you haven't seen them.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2002
An absolutely charming romantic comedy about a love destined to span time. Duke Leopold of Albany (Hugh Jackman) is accidentally swept from 1876 to present-day 2001 where he finds love in a NOW kind of woman (Kate), aptly portrayed by Meg Ryan. The time travel is nothing more than a means to an end and fortunately does not dominate the movie. The style of this flick harkens back to movies of old and is suitable for family viewing. The movie shows the value and allure of true romance as opposed to lust, and chivalry as opposed to expedience. This is a witty look at what love has lost through the ages and what it can still be if we only take the time. The story is delivered with a good dose of humor, too. Jackman is thoroughly convincing as the Duke and humorously confronts the difficulties of modern life in NYC. The charm of this movie is that it reveals the value of sincerity, good manners, and taste without taking itself too seriously. Leopold shows us what we seem to have lost in modern times and why we should value love over a marriage for the sake of financial security or advancing one's career. Finally, Sting's classical guitar ballad "Until" which concludes the movie credits is beautiful and will stay with you... stuck in your head, until you watch the movie again.