The Lake House is a remake of a 2000 South Korean film entitled Il Mare. The title, Il Mare, means ‘The Sea’ in Italian, and is the name of the seaside house which is the setting of the story. The film was remade by Warner Brothers starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves in 2006. As The Lake House begins, doctor Kate Forster (Sandra Bullock) has just moved in to a beautiful glass house, hoping to start a new life after a failed relationship. Soon, she begins corresponding with a man named Alex Wyler (Keanu Reeves) in the form of letters left in her mailbox. However, when Alex replies to Kate’s note and a correspondence ensues, their initial misunderstandings soon turn to disbelief when she claims to be living in 2006 and he is in 2004.
I have no problem with time warps, other dimensions, the presence of angels, and that the world just might be a cosmic soup of whirling particles. Seeing is not believing, because we see through a glass darkly, and anything might be possible, even the premise of this plot, implausible as it might be. The Lake House is a rare gem, the kind of film that Hollywood hasn’t made for decades. Complex, sci-fi plot aside, it comes down to a story about how two peoples lives change when they allow themselves to connect. It’s honest. Its cinematography is gorgeous and the performances are good.
The Lake House is a touching film, free of all the hustle and bustle of modern American cinema and culture in general. There’s no emailing, just good old-fashioned letter writing. It’s a throwback to the real movies. It focuses most of its energy on telling a complicated story in a way that’s understandable but not overly explanatory. But who said it has to make sense? If the viewer can take the leap of faith on time travel and changing destiny you will have a good time watching. Unfortunately, the ending isn’t passionate or strong enough to excuse the suspension of belief it demands.
The plot device involving time doesn’t get dumber and sillier as the movie goes on. It ends up being one small implausible aspect in an otherwise believable movie. I suppose another thing I didn’t like too much about the movie was the fact that although the acting was solid, the main characters just weren’t that interesting. Both carry a quiet intensity that provokes them to speak barely above whispers, and stay distant from romantic prospects in the real world. The Lake House is an adult summer romance, a beach read of a film that doesn’t make you feel stupid on the way out and that’s just about the best you could hope for something like this.