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The Lake House (A Movie Review)

Updated: Feb 16, 2022

The Lake House


Starring Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Christopher Plummer, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Willeke van Ammelrooy, Dylan Walsh, Lynn Collins, Mike Bacarella, Kevin Brennan, Frank Caeti, Scott Elias, Lori Ann Gerdisch, Michael Andrew Gorman and Jennifer Kern.

Screenplay by David Auburn.

Directed by Alejandro Agresti.

Distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures. 105 minutes. Rated PG.

I’m already on the record in this review section that I believe that time travel is a nearly foolproof plot device. It’s nearly impossible to make an uninteresting movie about the subject.

The Lake House is further proof of this theory. It is far from being a perfect film, but it is most certainly an intriguing one and surprisingly enjoyable. The remake of an obscure Korean film called Il Mare, it is the story of two people who live in the same scenic house by a lake in Chicago two years apart from each other. They find a strange time portal in which they are able to communicate by letters through the mailbox of the home.

The time-crossed lovers are played with suitable charm and gravitas by former Speed co-stars Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. They are both perfect for their roles. (How about a moratorium on all the snide remarks that Reeves can’t act? He may make more than his share of bad films, but when given a good script he has a natural charm and a likable style.)

Dr. Kate Forster (Bullock) is immersing herself in her career because she is so unhappy about her lack of a love life and the lack of passion, she feels for the one man who wants to marry her (Dylan Walsh). Alex Wyler (Reeves) is an architect who has a contentious relationship with his father (Christopher Plummer), a legendary architect who looks down at his son for making tract houses.

One morning, Alex finds a note from Kate, welcoming him to the lake house and asking him to forward her mail as she has just moved. The thing is, she wrote it two years to the day after he gets it. It takes a while for them to realize this time portal is happening, and even then, they find it hard to believe.

Eventually, through letters (though occasionally the voiceover discussions they have supposedly in the letters have much more of a give-and-take rhythm of instant messaging or conversation) the two fall in love. However, time seems to be conspiring against them, and though he is able to meet her a couple of times in 2004 when she still has no idea what has happened, every time he tries to reach her in 2006 something gets in the way of true love.

Does the storyline make complete sense, even in the context of time travel films? Well, no, not really. The film tries to be very sensible and true to its central conceit, but occasionally the cracks of logic do show. Sometimes a movie puts you in the position where you are either going to buy it or not. Despite a little fractured logic, the story was compelling enough that I bought it. (6/06)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2006 All rights reserved. Posted: July 5, 2006.

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