Kate (Meg Ryan) is a career-driven market researcher in Manhattan who has given up on love. Her last boyfriend Stuart (Liev Schreiber) was a physicist who found the secret to time travel and traveled back to 1876. Unfortunately, he accidentally brought back Leopold (Hugh Jackman), the Duke of Albany and inventor of the elevator, with him, and now Leopold is falling in love with Kate. In almost every way, Kate and Leopold shouldn't be right for each other. Leopold is a man out of time, and Kate is an independent New York woman. Even if anything happened, Leopold would have to go back to 1876 at some point. Are they forced to go their separate ways forever parted by time, or do they find a way to be together?
Kate & Leopold is a star-crossed lovers romantic comedy with time travel. There are so many genres thrown into this movie that it should struggle to find the right tone and ultimately fail, but against all odds, the movie works. It is charming, funny, and sweet without getting too corny. The writing is sharp, particularly Schreiber's monologue about a dog seeing a rainbow, and director James Mangold helps his actors hit the right notes.
I hadn't seen Kate & Leopold for years, and after watching it again, I wondered why it isn't considered one of the really great romantic comedies. My theory is that people take it for granted because it works so effortlessly, a problem which plagues Mangold's work in general. Well, I said it in my review of Cop Land (another great film by Mangold) and I'll say it again, Mangold is one of the most underrated directors working in Hollywood today. If you've never seen Kate & Leopold, watch it, or if you haven't seen it in years, pick it up again.
Blu-ray Bonus Features
I am actually not a fan of this release of the film. The Blu-ray release is the director's cut, and as much as I respect Mangold, I think they should have left the original cut alone. Without giving away any spoilers, there is a shot at the very beginning that was added in which I think spoils a pivotal moment later on in the movie. Also in the director's cut, Stuart says that Leopold is an ancestor of his, and the only reason why that detail is in the movie in the first place is so that they can make an incest joke later on in the movie. Besides my problems with the additions to the director's cut, I don't think they did much in cleaning up the picture or audio. If given the choice, I would rather go with the original cut on DVD.
The other special features are mostly the same as the original DVD. There is a making-of featurette, commentary with James Mangold, deleted scenes with commentary, and a featurette on the costuming work. Overall, there isn't much of a reason to buy it on Blu-ray over the previous DVD release.
"Kate & Leopold" is on sale April 10, 2012 and is rated PG13. Comedy, Romance. Written by Steven Rogers, James Mangold. Starring Breckin Meyer, Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Meg Ryan.