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Kate and Leopold

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Jan
  • COMMENTS
Kate and Leopold

from Film Forum, 01/10/02

In Kate and Leopold, a 19th-century Duke named Leopold (Hugh Jackman of X-Men) is caught in a time-travel mishap that plants him in the present day, where a tough-talking executive (Meg Ryan) nabs his heart. As he adapts to the new world, his new girlfriend discovers that perhaps the past had a few good ideas about love and romance.

The USCC gives it a ho-hum approval: "With a mixture of old-fashioned romance, fish-out-of-water chuckles and a good dose of star power, director James Mangold's fluffy romance is a sprightly piece, albeit a conventional one with few surprises."

"Any movie that contrasts nineteenth-century gentility favorably with modern boorishness deserves some credit in my book," says Steven D. Greydanus (Decent Films). But he is exasperated by problems with the film's time travel logic … or lack of it: "Whenever Kate and Leopold is about Kate and Leopold, it just about works. Whenever [it's] about … its unsalvageable time-travel premise … the movie will leave you knocking your head on the seat in front of you. Fortunately, it's mostly about Kate and Leopold. But the holes are maddening."

Lisa Rice (Movieguide) is hesitant about "many post-modern ideological elements of destiny and inevitability." She still concludes, "Kate and Leopold is a delightful, romantic, refreshing holiday movie with an old-fashioned protagonist. If you support movies like this with your box office dollars, there will be many more like it."

Michael Elliott says, "What really makes the film work as well as it does is Hugh Jackman's charm and affable manner. Mangold doesn't overreach, contenting himself with simply presenting an uncomplicated and sweet romance. Leopold's chivalry, especially his views on how a woman should be courted and treated, may seem old-fashioned but they are indeed timeless."

Douglas Downs writes, "Kate and Leopold reads like a cheap dime-store Harlequin romance novel." Still, he concludes, "This is the best romantic comedy that I have seen Meg Ryan in. I do recommend this film in spite of its obvious flaws and the above-mentioned cautions. The film focuses on human relationships rather than the common Hollywood path of sex. It never hurts for singles to learn more about 'courting' and we married men to be reminded to be courteous to our wives."

Steven Issac (Focus on the Family) likes it: "I'm a sucker for time travel stories. Kate & Leopold has all the right elements. Romance. A clash of cultures. Hard decisions. Even a moral baseline. It's … a fun story with a good heart. Kate & Leopold crusades for a kinder, gentler society, one that looks backwards and forwards with equal affection."

David Bruce at (Hollywood Jesus) is struck by the film's echoes of Kierkegaard: "Both Vanilla Sky and Kate and Leopold, movies released at the same time, feature a leap of faith. Both feature SØren Kierkegaard's transcendent view of life. Life/God is not found in a neat package of objective rules/dogma. Rather Life/God must be known subjectively through experience."

But Mary Draughon (Preview) asks, "Why does Hollywood drop the inappropriate foul language into an otherwise wholesome love story? Unfortunately … obscenities and profanities push Kate and Leopold, a promising date movie, into a negative acceptability rating."


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