Kate and Leopold
Review by Ross Anthony

Wow! I loved this film. A 19th century Duke (Jackman) passes through a time portal to modern day New York where he meets and, of course, falls for Meg Ryan. In each of the three diverse roles that I've seen him (superhero "X-Men," modern guy "Someone Like You," Duke "Kate & Leo") Jackman has been a rock solid magnetic actor.

Shunned by his uncle, "You're no Duke."

Jackman returns, "Of course not, the monarchy is dead, we are relics. Men like Edison are the new real men." (I paraphrased that last bit.)

To contrast Jackman's zest for creativity and invention, Ryan works for a research company that rates the fun out of life. She boasts, "We made Smuckers get the seeds out of their jam!"

Besides being brilliantly filmed, acted and scripted, this picture is chockfull of juicy dialogue. In one scene, Ryan whines on the phone to her ex-boyfriend (Schreiber), "I gave you the best years of my life. Schreiber retorts, "Those were your best?" A reflectively painful silence follows. And that's just one example of many.

As for the few minor faults. The film slows pace as it winds down the second act. Though there's legitimate logical/creative cause for the deceleration, the cost is a wane in the film's overall momentum. Additionally, the beginning of the third act feels abbreviated and unduly rushed to offset. Lastly, while resplendent, Kate and Leopold still indulge in slapstick trips and falls.

But these are mere scuffs on a 200 year-old gem. Some may find it a fairy tale ... I found it fanciful and imaginative, creative and backed with high power production at all levels. *The reviewer stands to applaud.*

Leo, schooled in etiquette, arranges a bouquet of petal messages. Just for fun, here's an abbreviated list of 19th century flower meanings:

Christmas Rose: "Tranquilize my anxiety"
Amaryllis: "Splendid beauty"
Bachelor's Button: "Celibacy"
Red Carnation: "My poor heart"
Cabbage Rose: "I come as an Ambassador of Love"
Clematis: "Mental beauty"
White Chrysanthemum: "Truth"
Daisy: "Innocence"
Fern: "Fascination"
Hollyhock: "Ambition"
Hyacinth: "I'd like to play"
Peony: "Same" or "I'm shy"
White Rose: "I am worthy of you"
Yellow Rose: "I am jealous" or "My love for you has decreased"
Blue Violet: "I will be faithful"
Water Lily: "Purity of Heart."

[Interviews with Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman]

  • Kate and Leopold. Copyright © 2001.
  • Starring Hugh Jackman, Meg Ryan, Live Schreiber, Breckin Meyer, Natasha Lyonne.
  • Written by James Mangold and Steven Rogers.
  • Story by Steven Rogers.
  • Directed by James Mangold.
  • Produced by Cathy Konrad at Miramax.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:06:16 PDT