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Leopold is an English and broken baron living in New York in the end of the Nineteenth Century. He needs to get married with a rich fiancée to recover his family position from ruin. Kate is a successful businesswoman living also in New York, but in 2001. Due to a time incident, they meet each other in the present days and they fall in love to each other.
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I am really getting into love story films these days. I'm proud to admit this fact too because I think what makes these films so successful and why Hollywood continues to make them (or have romantic subplots in almost every single film) is because guys like them more than woman do. Of course most of us are not allowed to utter this sentiment, but it's true. Men are very simple creatures. We want to be loved, we want to love back and we want to feel special. So if you find the right woman than we can accomplish all of our desires.
It's a human instinct to want to have that ultimate romance. To think that there is that someone special for us. In the case of Kate & Leopold, it takes two people from different times to find their true soulmate. How could anyone resist this story? Plus is has Hugh Jackman aka: Mr. Wolverine as it's male lead falling for the Mount Rushmore of romantic leading ladies in Meg Ryan. And it's a film directed by James Mangold, a guy who seems to enter new genres everytime he makes a film. In this reviewers opinion Mangold is one of the few interesting Hollywood directors working today. There is always substance to the tagline plot movies he directs. He's giving us the obvious but is adding a whole new twist to it.
Hugh Jackman's performance is the key to this film. We've seen the snotty rich British type a thousand times before and most of us are tired of seeing it again. The movie begins in Jackman's character's 1800s times as we understand that this is a confused man of integrity. He knows instinctually what the right thing is but is pressured by his family's legacy to do the opposite thing (another cliche storyline, but this is usually a female storyline). He's confused and it gets even more confusing when he is sent to the future of New York City. We need to like this character in order for us to like the film.
The woman will like him, no question. All woman like Hugh Jackson (as of this writing, X-Men: Wolverine just came out and 59% of the viewers have been females. For a male driven comic book movie!) as he's has the qualities all woman look for in a man. The man of contradictions. He's tender but tough. Not afraid to cry and not afraid to get into a fight. Loves going to the Opera and loves going to see a sporting event. Can sing and dance and can also perform martial arts. And I'm assuming is a man who can perform many times of lovemaking, which is something all woman imagine because it's someone all men imagine whenever a woman appears on screen.
It's what's not seen in the film is what usually gets our attention. We are then forced to imagine it. And when we imagine when watching, it's what makes us feel the most and therefore makes us entertained.
Yes, the plot of this movie is pure fantasy and it's what you call a concept film. What if so and so took place, what would happen? Things that could never really occur but in the movies. It's in these concept movies that the main characters are forced to figure out who they are and what lesson there is to learn. In the case of Kate and Leopold, it's all in the title. Two different people who are destined to be together with that one tiny conflict. They live different lives. He lives in the 1800s and she lives in the 2000s. How can they be together? And that question keeps us watching.
When this movie first came out I had no interest in seeing it. I was just not interested in this type of film. But something changed for me along the way and now these are the films I really want to see.
What makes this film stand out is that the roles are reversed. Jackman plays the role that is usually played by the female. Someone lacking an understanding of what their passion and destiny is. Someone being forced by outsiders to marry a certain person. Someone feeling the pressures of society to do certain things they don't want to do. Someone who likes the arts and Opera and finds romance in a simple thing like a walk in the park. And someone really in touch with their emotions and feelings.
And Meg Ryan plays the role that is usually played by the male. Career obsessed. Head strong. Only capable of seeing what's in front of them. Not willing to take risks for the sake of romance. Lonely. Disconnected with the world. And someone who has no touch with what they are really feeling inside. And last but not least, the much older partner in the courtship.
Men and woman really aren't that different but for some reason there is an idealized version of what a female is in films. This film bucks that convention and more films like this are needed.