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Not without its shortcomings, but interesting all the same
7/10 "I don't get it," said one confused old man as he filed out of the theater.4 years ago
Listen up, folks; this movie is not that hard to understand. Take the time to wrap your brain around it and you shouldn't have a problem following along. However, after listening to people talk after the movie I realize that some of you may walk away a little confused. So let me hold your hand and reveal a few facts that you should grasp before seeing this: A) Sandra is corresponding from 2006, B) Keanu is corresponding from 2004, and C) These time periods aren't mutually exclusive. Sandra's character still exists in the 2004 time period that Keanu is communicating from and vice versa.
Got that? Good. Sandra can tell Keanu where she was in 2004, and Keanu can cross her path, but the 2004 version of Sandra will have no clue who Keanu is. Makes sense, right? So the trick is that the 2006 version of Sandra has to figure out where the 2006 version of Keanu is so that they can meet in Keanu's future (AKA Sandra's present). Everything unfolds from there. Seriously, it's not that complicated.
I think most of the confusion exists because the script isn't as tight as it needs to be. It's frustrating because the story could have been much better (and a few plot holes could have been easily eliminated) with a couple of more rewrites. The most frustrating thing to me, and I reveal this because it's best you know it upfront, is that we're never told what exactly is causing the time rift between them.
We're expected to just accept it as fantasy and not demand any explanations. You'll enjoy the film much more if you understand that not all loose ends will be tied and you can ignore the plot holes I alluded to. I'd love to discuss them and explain my specific issues with them, but doing so would reveal way too much of the story. Email me after you see it and we'll discuss.
Throwing those quibbles aside, I actually enjoyed this quite a bit. Perhaps I'm a sucker for romance movies that aren't scared to throw a little of Nick Drake's Pink Moon down on us, but I like that this is a romance that plays it a bit unconventionally. Is it for everybody? No. There's a lot of talking (though it never gets as gay and flowery as I feared), and some of you might find the pace slow. Though I felt it more deliberate.
I also applaud the performances of Sandra and Keanu, who is nowhere near as robotic as you may expect. I actually bought into his emoting! Good job, Mr. Cool Breeze, but you really need to work on making your sneezes more believable.
Fans of romance movies will adore the theme of love and how its power can change someone's life, but since I'm into more masculine topics, I preferred watching the pieces of the time puzzle fall into place. It reminded me a little bit of Frequency - Keanu does something in 2004 and then Sandra recognizes its impact in 2006. Then we follow along as they try to figure out how to meet.
I wanted one of them to leave their hand in the mailbox and see if the other could see it when they went to retrieve the next letter. Perhaps a disembodied hand wiggling around in a mailbox wouldn't have fit with the mood that the writers were going for, but I would've laughed.
Speaking of mood, I thought this was another strongpoint of the movie. The cinematography is great, creating a cold, atmospheric setting. Chicago's impressive architecture is used to great effect. If you like stunning visuals to set your romantic mood then you won't be disappointed.
As long as you're willing to give this film your undivided attention for approximately 100 minutes (and you can easily forgive its shortcomings) then The Lake House will prove to be an intriguing piece of film for lovers of the romance genre.
And hey, even if romances aren't your thing, there might just be enough mystery here to keep your interest. After the movie, my friend commented, "As far as romances go, this is probably the best I've seen." And he hated The Notebook, ladies.
The Lake House suffers from lapses in logic, unnecessary plot holes, and predictability, but I appreciated its attempt to add something fresh to the romance genre. The intriguing mystery and the performances of Sandra and Keanu are effective enough for me to grant my approval to those of you who already have an interest in this one.
"Implausible?" So What?
9/10 If I read one more negative review of this movie that takes it to task for being "implausible," I'm afraid I will lose it completely.4 years ago
I have to ask myself what these same critics (assuming they're old enough to remember it) would have said about virtually any episode of the Rod Serling classic "Twilight Zone." I think it's safe to say most of those plots were based on fairly "implausible" happenings, in comparison to our real-life, day-to-day existence.
And I'm sure Richard Donner's "Superman" movie would have felt their wrath as well, since everyone knows people can't fly.
"Implausible." Good grief.
"The Lake House" is a romantic fairy tale -- and a darned good one, too. It's NOT confusing or hard to understand at all, assuming the viewer has more than two ounces of comprehension skill.
To me, the recent film it seems closest to in subject matter and style is "Frequency," which I also enjoyed tremendously.
And yes -- call me crazy, but the things that happen in "Frequency" are fairly "implausible" too.
And, oh yeah -- since I don't really believe angels have to jump through ridiculous hoops to get their wings, I'm guessing these same Scrooges have no use for "It's a Wonderful Life," either.
9/10 I saw a screening of this last night and maybe I was just in the right mood for it, but I really enjoyed it. I'm not even a chick-flick kind of girl! It's best if you don't over-analyze the time-travel details and just go with it... it's a movie, after all. Seriously, I wasn't expecting that much and I got a better feeling from this movie than I have in a long time - it made me feel warm and happy. Plus, the whole theater laughed at some parts, plus people gasped and cried, and at the end everyone applauded. That's a good sign, if you ask me. I don't watch previews so I don't know what they give away about the plot, so I'm not going to give much of anything away here. I will just say that to me this was a uniquely told romantic story. I happen to like Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, although they are by no means favorites of mine, nor do I consider them to be consistently amazing actors (more often they're not... at least he's not...). But they made this story work for me and I believe they have good chemistry. The movie is set in Chicago and shows the city off nicely without trying to beat you over the head with it (a la The Break-Up). One thing I think I related to a lot with these characters is that they are both pretty isolated and lonely, although not in a sad-sack way. I felt a longing from them for someone to relate to, and even though they have opportunities for other people to be involved in their lives... well it's not what's best for them and they don't settle. Plus, the actors are both in their 40s and I like seeing love stories that aren't about either two 22-year-olds or a 40-year-old man and a 22-year-old girl.4 years ago
Even though this is clearly impossible, it's amazing.
9/10 I saw this film on June 12th, 2006 at a preview showing in my home town of Austin, Texas. Admittedly, when I first viewed the trailer it appeared to be nothing more than a cheap romantic flick with a hunk (Keanu Reeves) and a pretty girl (Sandra Bullock). After watching this film, I realized first impressions can sometimes be wrong.4 years ago
The plot may be a bit out of the ordinary. But if you suspend logic for an hour or two and believe in the magic of the story, it will draw you into a deeply passionate story. There are some twists that may or may not surprise (especially if you're as quick as my wife).
Although Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock have had some iffy acting performances in the past, both put in excellent performances that made their characters come alive. Each characters has a very earthy feel that makes them seem real and relatable.
Overall, I have to say this is a beautiful movie, from the story to the acting to the beautiful cinematography.
Truly Moving Picture
10/10 I saw this film on May 26th, 2006 in Indianapolis. I am one of the4 years ago
judges for the Heartland Film Festival's Truly Moving Picture Award. A
Truly Moving Picture " explores the human journey by artistically
expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life." Heartland
gave that award to this film.
An attractive, educated, professionally fulfilled Doctor (Sandra
Bullock) "meets" an attractive, educated, sensitive architect (Keanu
Reeves) via letters and a past common residency of a particular lake
house. What could be the problem? The problem is that they are
currently living two years apart and then again at the exact same time
in this romantic, heart-wrenching, dramatic fairy tale.
The Doctor leaves the lake house in rural Illinois in 2006 in order to
advance her career and find happiness in Chicago. She leaves a note to
an unknown-to-her new tenant, the architect, to forward her mail. They
correspond to each other and slowly discover that he is actually living
in the house 2 years earlier in 2004. And they share the same dog.
But somehow the viewer can suspend disbelief and get into the story
because the two characters are believable and intelligent and are
initially just as skeptical of the time riddle as the viewer.
Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock re-unite for the first time since
"Speed." The genre of "The Lake House" is completely different, but the
actors are just as complementary and likable in this fantasy tale. They
both display a deep, patient, and profound love for each other. And
they do so with grace and charm and a chemistry that can't be readily
Much of this film plays like a mystery with mothers and fathers,
siblings, and boy and girl friends weaving in and out of the story in
the present time of 2004 and the present time of 2006. But through it
all, the Doctor and the architect ultimately never lose hope that they
can solve this time puzzle and can actually be together at the same
moment in time.
FYI There is a Truly Moving Pictures web site where there is a
listing of past Truly Moving Picture Award winners that are now either
at the theater or available on video.