ninth symphony films - movie reviews

KATE & LEOPOLD (2001)


DIRECTOR  -  james mangold

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  romantic comedy

LENGTH  -  118 minutes

RELEASED  -  25 december 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  miramax pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  kate & leopold

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $48,000,000
kate & leopold - a shot from the film

BUY THE DVD:

buy the dvd from kate & leopold at amazon.com

buy the dvd from kate & leopold at amazon.com


SYNOPSIS:
a 19th century aristocrat is accidentally sent forward in time and meets a beautiful 21st century woman.




MOVIE FACT:
hugh jackman took etiquette lessons from 19-century etiquette expert jane gibson (who trained actors for such projects as sense and sensibility). he also studied ballroom dancing and trained to ride a horse for the film.


MOVIE FOTOS:

picture from kate & leopold

picture from kate & leopold

picture from kate & leopold



RATING:


three out of four possible stars

Sentimental fluff with a great cast and a story worthy of a novel with a painting of half naked man holding a woman on some windy hill on the cover, this film makes the viewer smile and forget about anything serious for a precious few hours. By doing what she's best at, Meg Ryan proves again that she can glow onscreen when given the right story and the right cast to back her up. In her few forays into more serious territory, Meg's films have most of the time floundered at the box office. But with this film, she goes back to the genre, which people associate most with her, and in which she's become quite successful.

And although this film might not appeal to more than the "chick flick" set (a term I abhor), the acting is good enough to warrant viewings from both sexes. Like her earlier film, You've Got Mail, this film boasts a great cast that isn't always so common in light fluffy stuff. One of the supporting characters, "charlie," played by Breckin Meyer, has an especially comedic performance which doesn't outshine the two lead stars, but that does make an impact on the film. His sitcom on NBC doesn't do him justice. He's very funny in this film.

Of course, this stretches back to the fact that he has a good cast to work with. The ensemble element to this film is not too strong, but all the relationships between the characters work well. By that, I mean that none of the supporting characters over-take the main actors, but that they do provide a good base. Perhaps it was the casting directors, Kerry Barden, Billy Hopkins, and Suzanne Smith, who should be credited for putting together a cast that ended up working so well together. Usually, it is pure chance that actors get on well with one another.

Just take films like Captain Corelli's Mandolin and The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, two films whose casts were their downfall. Kate & Leopold's success lies in the combination of its well put-together cast and a story that's fun, if not really smart. The whole plot of the film and the way it progresses are not something that's completely new to the screen, but that doesn't really matter, because the performances and the execution of the story make the fact that you already kind of know what's going to happen, inconsequential during the viewing of this film, because the characters are likable. Like her other romantic comedies, such as the aforementioned You've Got Mail and the 1995 film French Kiss, it was a certainty that the people in the film would get together at the end.

But it was the journey the characters took to get there that was the enjoyable part. And enjoying the journey the movie takes makes the ending to this film all the more worthwhile. Of course, with all this talk of cute stories and good casts, I haven't mentioned the film's lead male star, Hugh Jackman. His performance is really the one that completes this film. The love story is sweet because of his chemistry with Meg and with this character, Jackman proves that his character is more than just a pretty face. Using a combination of comedy and true acting ability, Jackman creates a character that's sincere when it's required, yet funny when it's needed.

But again, his performance is augmented by the supporting cast and Meg Ryan. Perhaps it was fate that the cast worked out so well for this film. the peripheral characters for this film also made a good impression on me. Including Liev Schreiber, as Kate's ex-boyfriend, Natasha Lyonne as her secretary, and Bradley Whitford as her boss, these characters add up to a cast that's nice to look at who possess a good amount of comedic ability. Something else i'd like to comment on is the way 1876 is portrayed in the film. Not specifically the furnishings or the period clothing, but the way the women appeared.

In 1876, it was normal for the women to have a little meat on their bones, and this movie represented females pretty accurately. It's always a lark to see a period film where the women are skin and bone and the men are all buff. Because a couple of hundred years ago, the women weren't thin unless they had lightening fast metabolism and the men weren't buff unless they were part of the working class. This film paid attention to that detail (though Hugh is a little modern looking, even with the curly hair-do). Perhaps one of my only complaints on the film would have to deal with how fast it ended.

It was pretty quick after the resolution to the film that the credits started rolling. I kind of wanted to know what happened to the characters after the end. What happened to brekin meyer and the woman he was trying to date. What happened to Kate's secretary and what about her boss? It seemed that although the story between Kate and Leopold came to a resolution, the film left a few loose ends. This might stem from the fact though that there weren't really any bad guys to speak of in the movie. Sure, Kate's boss "JJ" was a pain in the ass, and Leopold's uncle was overbearing, but neither of them really presented a threat of any significance to the lead characters.

I would have liked to have seen a few more problems between the main characters and some more pitfalls on their journey to true love than I did. Sometimes the film veered off into cute little vignettes about between Kate and Leopold, but didn't always progress story-wise. It is possible that this problem would have been much worse if the cast hadn't been so good together. But, fortunately, the cast and the story for this film create a very enjoyable experience. Its shortcomings don't really matter because the actors make this film worthwhile.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.


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