The Lake House

 
Directed by: Alejandro Agresti
Written by:David Auburn
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Dylan Walsh, Shorreh Aghdashloo, Christopher Plummer
Released: July 27, 2006
Grade: C+

Not far from Chicago, there is a small house made entirely of glass.  If you’re worried about privacy then you need not fear.  The house is built over a lake in a secluded part of a forest.

Alex Wyler (Reeves) has just rented the house and on his first day, he reads a letter which has been left for him.  It’s from Kate Forster (Bullock), the previous owner of the house, and she asks that her mail be forwarded to her new address.  This may sound simple but there’s a complication which creates the premise for the movie.  Alex is living in 2004.  Kate is living in 2006.  The two can only communicate by sending letters to each other through the lake house’s “magic” letter box.  It transports the mail back and forth in time.

Two months ago, I went through a personality profiling exercise.  It confirmed what I already knew in that I make decisions based on facts instead of my beliefs.  I like logic and make decisions using an analytic and detailed approach.  I find it hard to believe in something without evidence to support it.

It should therefore come as no surprise that I found The Lake House extremely frustrating.  My qualm is not with the premise of time travel as I understand the film is one of fantasy.  My issues are with how Alex and Kate act.  It will be painfully clear to everyone in the cinema what they need to do.  Just think for a moment.  Kate is living two years in the future.  Why doesn’t Kate just track down Alex in the year 2006?  How is it that neither of them can think of this?  While they’re at it, Kate should have given Alex some winning lottery numbers so that once together, they could live in style!   

Director Alejandro Agresti has done nothing to improve the weak story.  There are a handful of scenes where Reeves and Bullock speak as if they were having a conversation face-to-face.  It’s a silly illusion because such chats aren’t possible given their circumstances.  Did they write one sentence, stuff it in the mailbox, then wait for a response?  I don’t buy it.

For Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, it’s the time they’ve been paired since 1994’s Speed.  I’ve been critical of them both over the past few years but their performances in The Lake House are lovely.  Alex and Kate are likeable characters and despite the ludicrous storyline, most will be cheering for this softly spoken couple to get together in the end.

As a footnote, you might be interested to know that the house was built specially for the film.  The crew couldn’t find a house that suited their needs and so constructed their own along the shore of Maple Lake in Illinois.  It looks great but it doesn’t change my opinion of what is a very mediocre romantic drama.