Kate & Leopold
Starring Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman
Leopold, Duke of Albany, is spending 1867 in New York City, sent there by his family in disgrace because he is 30 and not yet married. While watching a speech by the designer of the Brooklyn Bridge, Leopold sees someone behaving oddly in the crowd.
Later that evening, at the ball where he has promised his uncle he would announce an engagement to some wealthy young lady to be determined, Leopold again sees the stranger. The man turns tail and runs, Leopold gives chase and they end up on the upper levels of the half-built Brooklyn Bridge where they wrestle and fall.
Leopold wakes up the next day in a very, very strange place. “Where am I?” he demands. “This is not New York!” It is, but it’s the New York of 2001, not 1867. Stuart, a scientist in 2001, had found a time portal that just happened to be in the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Leopold meets Kate, Stuart’s upstairs neighbor, former girlfriend and a career-minded research marketer. Stuart tries to explain who Leopold is, and Kate refuses to believe him. Kate has no use for Leopold until he helps her retrieve her bag from a purse snatcher and her attitude toward him thaws.
Kate is under pressure at work, where she is one of two employees being considered to run the New York office. Leopold helps her recognize her boss’ posturing and self-serving behavior and shows her that it’s possible for ethical behavior to exist in business.
Naturally, Kate and Leopold fall in love. Kate asks, “Do you miss where you’re from?” Leopold responds, “I miss its rhythm.” They spend an idyllic Saturday together, and Kate wishes for a life that’s paced to 1867.
Monday is a momentous day. Kate gets the promotion, and Leopold sadly takes advantage of the portal’s opening again to return to his own time. Stuart warns him that he will arrive back during the same day he left, and that the day, or part of it, may be repeated. We watch as Leopold enters his uncle’s house and has the same conversations with the same people, enters the same ballroom, and catches sight of Stuart exactly as it happened before.
Meanwhile Kate is in the exact same house – in 2001 – attending a company event which will present her as the new Vice President.
But wait! Stuart gets back the roll of developed film from his foray into 1867 – it was his use of the camera which first caught Leopold’s attention that day – and sees something very surprising. He gate crashes the company event and gives the pictures to Kate.
The lovers are reunited – no spoiler there, but I won’t tell you how it comes about. There are a few fun little twists and turns along the way.
So how is this fluffy little romantic comedy an expat movie? Living an expat life is all about adjusting to different cultures and customs. What could be more different than life in the horse and carriage days and life in the 21st-century fast lane with its noise, automobiles, airplanes, remote control everything, Palm Pilots, cell phones, computers, dishwashers and automatic toasters?
Leopold adjusts beautifully without losing any of his authenticity. One only hopes Kate can do the same.