Century-bending 'Kate and Leopold' is timeless

by David Jain | 1/14/02 6:00am

On the night of Leopold's expected engagement to an American heiress he is mysteriously transported from his 19th century home into the new millennium. When he opens his eyes, he wakes up to the modern world and to a love that he thought could never exist in the romantic comedy "Kate and Leopold."

When Leopold, the third Duke of Albany, (Hugh Jackman) attends an engagement party in his 1876 home, he can't help but realize that something is missing: a woman to marry. Tired of waiting for the right woman, he is forced into marrying for wealth rather than love.

Just as he is about to present his fianc, Leopold spots a misplaced man who attempts to flee the duke.

He chases the man to the top of one of the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge and enters a world that he was not prepared to experience.

As Leopold recovers in a New York midtown apartment, the man who he had followed, Stuart (Liev Schreiber), stares in awe at what he has discovered. An eccentric scientist and inventor, Stuart had just unveiled a time portal in the East River between 1876 and the modern era.

When Stuart's ex-girlfriend hears strange noises from the apartment above her, Kate McKay (Meg Ryan) climbs up her fire escape and into Stuart's studio and Leopold's heart. Even though Stuart tries to explain the mysterious appearance of Leopold, Kate is reluctant to believe him at first, and decides that he is nothing more than an actor.

"Kate and Leopold" proves that opposites do attract. Just when Kate is about to completely give up on the idea that the perfect man exists she runs into the person that she's least likely to fall in love with.

While it may not have been love at first sight for Kate and Leopold, their common emotions lead the two of them on a course that leads right into love. Heart-broken time after time, both are reluctant when it comes to commitment and true love. It is indeed perhaps their fear of love that leads them both to fall for one another.

As the film progresses, it becomes evident that Leopold is not the typical man in Kate's eyes. After a string of hopeless relationships, Leopold proves to be the unique needle in her haystack of love (excuse the pun).

Directed by James Mangold and produced by Cathy Konrad, "Kate and Leopold" is a clever and romantic movie for the average theatergoer. While it may not score high on the year's best films, it's certainly worth viewing.

The script is, for the most part, well written and catchy, though a little sketchy at times. Instead of focusing on the romantic aspect of the film, the writers tend to stray off the baseline a few too many times.

Despite its minute faults, "Kate and Leopold" is still a cute and fanciful movie. For the young at heart (and the young in love), the movie allows its audience to escape into a world where true love is not just a dream.

"Kate and Leopold" makes the impossible a reality. It is a testament to the age-old adage that as long as you keep on looking, you'll find the perfect mate.

The film also proves that while not all roads eventually lead to bliss, if you go down the right route you're sure to hit happiness. Whether or not you need to travel back to the 19th century in order to reach true love is another question.