KATE AND LEOPOLD starts out in 1870, where Leopold’s uncle is ready for his nephew, a poverty-stricken English Duke, to marry a wealthy American lady. The uncle arranges a fancy party in New York City where Leopold must make his choice. While dancing, however, Leopold spots a man with an unusual device, so he follows the man, Stuart, and finds him shooting photos of his elevator invention sketches in the study. When Leopold confronts him, Stuart bolts out the door, across town, to the top of a large building, where he proceeds to jump off, taking Leopold with him through a time portal to the year 2002. Leopold has many hilarious reactions to the modern city, but maintains his regal deportment while exploring his new world. He even falls in love with the beautiful Kate McKay, a harried, heartsick lady who is not sure whether to trust him. Will Leopold have to go back to the past empty-handed, or is there another way?
KATE AND LEOPOLD is a delightful, fun, romantic movie that will make the audience swoon and dream. It is an enthralling, old-fashioned romantic comedy which stresses truth, honesty, chivalry, and honor.
(BB, Ro, LLL, V, A, D, M) Biblically oriented, moral worldview stressing truth, honesty, chivalry, upright intentions, quest for life & love through honorable means, mixed with some elements of Romanticism where emotions rule behavior & some post-modern ideology with an emphasis on fate & inevitability; 15 obscenities & 15 profanities, but references to dog waste & slightly veiled body humor with man making speech about his new (Brooklyn) bridge & calling it “my glorious erection”; apparent fall from a building & some mild physical comedy, action violence, such as man on a horse heroically chases down purse snatcher; no violence; no sex; no nudity; some mild depictions of alcohol & smoking; and, purse snatcher defeated.
It is 1870, and Leopold’s uncle is ready for his nephew, a poor English Duke (played by the handsome Hugh Jackman of X-MEN), to marry a wealthy American lady. Therefore, Leopold’s uncle has arranged a fancy party in New York City where Leopold must make his choice. Leopold, however, is far from ready and certainly not in love. He asks his uncle, “How can I promise eternally what I’ve never felt momentarily?” His uncle storms, “You were born with everything, and you’ve fashioned from it nothing. I wash my hands of you. A wealthy bride is now your only hope.”
Sadly, Leopold dances with many rich but homely girls, sincerely trying to force himself to choose one. While dancing, however, he spots a man with an unusual device, so he follows the man, Stuart (Live Schreiber), and finds him shooting photos of his elevator invention sketches in the study. When Leopold confronts him, Stuart bolts out the door and across town, all the way to the top of a large building, where he proceeds to jump off. Having chased him all the way, Leopold grabs his hand and will not let him jump. Stuart begs him to let go, and when he does not, both men plunge to their deaths in the icy New York harbor. Or, have they?
Actually, the men have traveled through a time/space continuum portal, and they are now in Stuart’s New York apartment in 2002. Leopold has many hilarious reactions to the sprawling modern city, but he maintains his regal deportment as he explores his new world.
Meanwhile, the lovely Kate McKay (Meg Ryan), ex-girlfriend and upstairs neighbor of Stuart, finds herself in a harried marketing job, stressfully climbing the ladder to hopefully become vice president of the company. Deep inside, however, Kate longs for true rest and an honorable man, but only her character-challenged boss asks her out on dates.
Kate meets Leopold, and she is both amused and appalled that Stuart and he both believe that time travel has happened. Kate’s brother, Charlie (Breckin Meyer), however, an actor himself, thoroughly enjoys Leopold’s company and the amusing British banter in which they frequently engage. Stuart has an accident in an elevator and is hospitalized, so, against Stuart’s wishes, Charlie takes Leopold around town to show him the ropes.
One day Kate’s purse gets stolen, and Leopold borrows a horse from a tourist horse-and-buggy gig, and he charges after the thief, valiantly retrieving the purse and riding off with Kate. Later that night, when Kate has dinner with her slimy boss, Leopold and Charlie show up, and Leopold masterfully puts the boss in his place. He gives Kate an incredible apology later.
Kate and Leopold have a date on the roof, where Leopold tells her, “Love is a leap.” Leopold finds his uncle’s old mansion in New York and gives Kate a tour. He finds his secret compartment behind the fireplace mantel, and he shows her his mother’s diamond ring. Later, the two have a romantic conversation under the stars, and Leopold tucks Kate into bed, quite honorably not making any moves.
The romance might be over, however, when Leopold refuses to promote a diet butter that tastes like pond scum. He remarks, “You people have every convenience, every comfort and yet no time for integrity.” Kate replies, “I’ve paid my dues. I need a rest, and if I have to peddle a little pond scum to get there, so be it!”
The two must decide whether the trust and integrity issues can be bridged, and they must decide before the next Monday, when the next time/space portal will be open. Will Leopold have to go back to the 1800s and choose a bride from the homely pack, or is there another answer?
KATE AND LEOPOLD is a wonderful movie! Many in the audience stayed in a state of perpetual swoon over all the chivalry, romance and dreaminess of the whole story, not to mention Hugh Jackman’s handsome screen presence. Move over, Tom Cruise! Women will love this movie because they can relate to Kate’s inner search for the knight in shining armor and entering a place of true rest and joy in the world of an honorable beloved. Many men also will love KATE AND LEOPOLD because it speaks to that deep place of BEING the honorable, conquering, chivalrous knight. Of course, there are obvious parallels here to Jesus Christ and His Bride, the Church. Leopold’s outstanding moral character is a refreshing change of pace from the flawed male protagonists who usually populate modern romantic comedies.
KATE AND LEOPOLD also has many post-modern ideological elements of destiny and inevitability, in other words, “What is supposed to happen will happen.” Though not specifically Christian in nature, post-modern thought is closer to biblical theology than New Age thinking in that its allegorical elements about Christ and His purposes are abundant. Post-modernism also touts a love of nostalgia, and movies with this ideology often have a mix of times and styles. As an interesting note, most of Meg Ryan’s films seem to have these “destiny” overtures throughout them.
With only a smattering of inappropriate language, KATE AND LEOPOLD is a delightful, romantic, refreshing holiday movie. Please support beautiful movies like this with your box office dollars, and there will be many more like it.
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