A present-day woman takes responsibility for guiding a charming, time-traveling 19th-century nobleman through the 21st century.
It’s 1876 and Leopold is feeling pretty “meh” about his life as a nobleman when he chases a time-traveling scientist through town and they both fall to their almost-deaths. He wakes up in Stuart the scientist’s 2001 NYC apartment, which happens to be just upstairs from Stuart’s ex-girlfriend, Kate. Stuart is promptly, uh, compromised, and without a way to get back to 1876, Leopold is left to his own devices until he meets Kate and the two embark on a forced friendship of sorts.
Meg Ryan as Kate
All aboard the Hot Mess Express! Kate is a market research Career Woman™ sharing an apartment with her kid brother, downstairs from her mad scientist ex-boyfriend. She’s a mess, and she’s trying to move up the ranks at her company despite a creep boss who’s trying to move up the ranks of her blouse, ifyougetmydrift. Meg plays this part with charm, despite some of the horrendous outfits they put her in.
Hugh Jackman as Leopold
Hugh is the perfect person to play Leopold. He’s hot, he’s got that 1876 vibe and accent, he looks great in a pair of late-Victorian trousers. But most importantly, he’s likeable even when his 19th-century ideals cause him to be a little offensive.
Natasha Lyonne as Darci
It’s sort of hard to reconcile the Natasha Lyonne we know now with the one playing Darci, Kate’s romance-novel obsessed assistant who’s searching for her own leading man. Her floral blouses and weepy demeanor are a fun change from Natasha’s Russian Doll and OITNB characters, though I prefer her as she is these days.
Liev Schriber as Stuart
Similarly, I’m so used to Liev playing serious/murderous roles, it’s strange to see him doing quirky physical comedy as a time-traveling mad scientist who falls down an elevator shaft.
Breckin Meyer as Charlie
A role tailor made for Breckin: Kate’s kid brother who comes home a day early from actor camp. Maybe Breckin should always play someone’s kid brother.
Bradley Whitford as J.J.
Kate’s boss is a creep who’s more interested in getting in her pants than giving her a promotion. Can we talk about how well Bradley Whitford has aged??? He went from Receeding Hairline Guy to Silver Fox and I hope he never looks back.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Girls’ Night In
Gather the girls for this one, because it’s objectively a little ridiculous but will still have you feeling the feels, and you don’t want that feeling interrupted by the snarky commentary of a MAN.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: White Wine O’Clock
Do you have to be drunk? No. Does a slight buzz make it easier to deal with the early aughts fashion choices and subsequent embarrassment you’ll feel when you remember some of your own early aughts fashion choices? Yes.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Rom-Com Research
Though it missed the 90s by a couple of years, Kate & Leopold is staunchly situated in the era of the rom-com heyday, when Meg Ryan was America’s Sweetheart and Hugh Jackman was on the rise as a heart-stealing leading man. If you’re a fan of romance novels, it plays with tropes in a clever way and gives us a relatably imperfect heroine.