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Kate & Leopold

Kate & Leopold title card

Year - 2001
Studio - Mirimax
Stars - Meg Ryan, Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Brecklin Meyer, Natasha Lyonne, Bradley Whitford, Paxton Whitehead, Spaulding Gray
Director - James Mangold
Writing Credits - James Mangold, Steven Rogers (screenplay), Steven Rogers (story)
Music - Rolfe Kent

Synopsis

Leopold (Hugh Jackman) is an aristocratic Duke, transplanted from England to 19th Century New York City. Much to his uncle's dismay, the idealistic Leopold is not interested in his inherited position, and wants to actually accomplish something in his life through science. While attending the 1876 dedication of the new Brooklyn Bridge, he sees a strange man, Stuart Besser (Liev Schrieber) snooping around and taking pictures with a tiny device. He chases him onto the bridge where Stuart attempts to jump; Leopold, hanging to his arm, follows him to the abyss below.

He awakens in Stuart's cramped apartment in New York City, who explains that he has discovered a time travel "portal" to allow him to go to 1876. He tells Leopold that he will help him return when the portal, on the bridge, is again available in a week's time. Leopold is unbelieving until he actually sees the chaos and technology of the city outside.

Kate McKay (Meg Ryan), an ambitious market research executive, and Stuart's former girlfriend, lives in the apartment below. Stuart introduces Leopold to her, and explains the circumstances of his arrival. Kate thinks that Leopold, so foreign in appearance and demeanor, is a mental case. Her brother Charlie (Breckin Meyer), however, thinks that Leopold is a fellow actor and immediately strikes up a friendship.

Kate and Leopold poster

Leopold's 19th Century chivalrous behavior, his attitude about food preparation and quality (in response to experiencing 21st Century fast foods and frozen dinners), and his handsome looks, lead Kate to take him to her company to audition for a margarine commercial. The focus group loves him and he gets the job.

Leopold meets Kate's boss and concludes that his intentions toward her are not honorable, and suggests that he chaperone her at her dinner appointment with him. Kate declines, but Leopold shows up at the restaurant and reveals the boss as being shallow and pretentious, to Kate's embarrassment.

Later Leopold writes, with quill pen and ink, a very formal letter of apology, and invites Kate to dine with him on the roof of the apartment building. When she arrives, he has prepared a magnificent dinner, and has hired a violinist to accompany them as they dance on the roof.

Kate is offered a promotion to head her company's local office. Although she is very enamored with Leopold, she tells him that their relationship cannot last and that her career must come first. When the time comes for the portal to open, Stuart takes Leopold to the bridge where he returns to his own time.

But as Stuart studies the photographs he took in 1876, he sees Meg in one of them, in the background at Leopold's mansion. He and Charlie hurry to a company party where Kate is about to give her acceptance speech for the new position. They show her the image and, in the middle of her speech, she realizes that she belongs with Leopold, not the company. They run to the bridge, just in time for her jump before the portal closes, and she goes to Leopold in 1876, arriving just in time to stop him from going into a marriage of convenience.

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