You, too, will fall in love with Hugh
By Becca T., Grade 10, Fredericton High, Fredericton, NB
Kate and Leopold
Directed by James Mangold
Miramax Films (2001)
Kate and Leopold is a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy with an unusual twist: the leading man is over 150 years old!
The story begins when the third Duke of Albany, Leopold Mountbatten (played by Hugh Jackman), is accidentally transported from the year 1876 to the 21st century through ‘a crack in the fabric of time'. Struggling to comprehend this new world, he is befriended by a young actor (Breckin Meyer) and his sister Kate (Meg Ryan) with whom he later falls in love.
The plot is simple but effective. It takes a little while to get going and although there is sometimes a lack of excitement, there are many memorable moments such as Jackman's fervent monologue about burnt toast and his daring horseback pursuit of a purse-snatcher.
Hugh Jackman's portrayal of his character is outstanding. He steals the spotlight with his impeccable manners and his effortless charm, not to mention his dashingly handsome good looks. He flawlessly entertains as the perfect gentleman that most women dream about and I firmly believe no other actor could have conveyed the refinement and class of the 19th century so well.
Meg Ryan executed perfectly her role as the cynical career-woman, although it must be admitted that the character itself is an aggravating one. Kudos to Bradley Whitford for his seamless performance as Kate's egocentric, smooth-talking boss and possible love-interest. Whitford's flaky personality and phony smile are a perfect contrast to Jackman's sincerity.
Although the set is far from extraordinary (it centers mainly in Kate's apartment, and her office) there is some beautiful footage of the New York skyline. Also I must point out that the soundtrack complements the mood of the movie; most of the songs are soothing and easy to listen to, with mainly orchestral accompaniments.
More than anything the story centers on taking a ‘leap of faith', whether it means jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge (the only method of passing through the time portal), or simply surrendering your control to the power of love. This movie is perfect for the die-hard romantic, or anyone looking for proof that chivalry is not dead. While this movie definitely is classified as a romance, it does not go overboard with sappy speeches and long loving glances, and so can be enjoyed by almost anyone. By the end of this movie, you too will be convinced that love can cross all boundaries; even time.
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