Timeless Romance on The Lake
Re-uniting Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves in their first movie together since 1994's "Speed" "The Lake House" is probably one of the most illogical yet engaging love stories which I have had the pleasure to watch. I say illogical as the entire concept behind "The Lake House" is impossible on so many levels yet it plays so well that you become so wrapped up in the blossoming romance that you forget how unreal and daft it really is.
When Doctor Kate Forster (Sandra Bullock - Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous) moves out of her unique glass lake house to head for Chicago, she leaves a note in the mailbox for the next tenant asking them to forward any mail to her new residence and apologises for some strange features such as paw prints on the wooden path that were already there when she moved in. When architect Alex Wyler (Keanu Reeves - Something's Gotta Give) moves in he discovers Kate's letter but is confused as neither are there any paw prints and as far as he is aware he is the first resident of the lake house for some years. But when a stray dog passes him as he is working on the wooden path and leaves the trail of paw prints that Kate mentioned in her letter, Alex realizes that somehow they are living in different years. Baffled by this odd turn of events, Alex and Kate continue to communicate via letters left in the lake house mailbox and soon are confiding in each other, sharing their inner most feelings and falling in love.
"The Lake House" is one of those movies that if you try to over analyze you are going to end up giving yourself a thundering headache. Not only is the concept of having parallel time zones absolutely daft but the fact this allows the script writer to screw with your mind by altering the present with an act in the past can leave you annoyed and frustrated. Just as you believe you know where "The Lake House" is going a change in the time continuum causes an unexpected shift which throws any attempt of realism out of the window. It is to be honest a movie which can be ripped to pieces because with all the parallel nonsense is flawed.
But as I said if you over analyze "The Lake House" it fails to work, but if you allow it to engage you in the love story then it is extremely good. It is so good that the blossoming romance manages to take your mind off of the illogical nature of the movie and you become engrossed on whether Alex and Kate will ever get together. The actual romance between the two of them works surprising well seeing that they only communicate via the letter in the mailbox. The way it progresses as they become more and more open to each other is brilliantly worked so that you feel that you are actually with each of them as a confidant.
What is also very apparent is that "The Lake House" is inspired by many of the classic and popular romantic movies that have gained favour over the years. Several times "The Lake House" pays reverence to the likes of "An Affair to Remember", "Sleepless in Seattle" and shares quite a bit with "You've Got Mail". But never does "The Lake House" feel like it's intentionally ripping off these famous movies rather using elements to create a rather unusual movie.
It's not all good and at times "The Lake House" feels like there is something missing. For at least the first quarter of an hour I really struggled to get into the movie and with a non-descript and rarely present sound track there were far too many uncomfortable silences for my liking. Plus although "The Lake House" is not a rom-com in the traditional sense there are moments which will make you laugh but these are few and far between. Maybe a few more of these would have helped to stop those uncomfortable silences creeping in without detracting from the overall drama of the movie.
As for the pairing of Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, well despite the fact that for most of "The Lake House" they don't appear together the chemistry between them is even better than in "Speed". How this can be is mainly down to the excellent script writing especially in the letters which they leave for each other. You get a real sense that through their actions, the various scenes and the elegant letters that their relationship, despite being in to different time zones, is blossoming at a natural pace.
What this all boils down to is that yes "The Lake House" is essentially a chick-flick with a completely improbable core theme but it is so well crafted that it's made a fan out of me by being beautiful. Plus the chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves is very present making it all the more engaging and strangely believable. But it is a movie where you have to ignore the fact that it's pure fantasy and allow yourself to get wrapped up in the developing romance and the beauty of the surroundings to really enjoy.