LAKE HOUSE, THE
Overworked and lonely Doctor Kate Forster (Sandra Bullock) who once occupied an unusual, glass walled lakeside home in Chicago, begins exchanging love letters with its newest resident, architect Alex Wyler (Keanu Reeves), whose famous architect father, Simon (Christopher Plummer), designed the house. But Kate and Alex discover that he is not the next tenant of the house as she believes, but moved out before she moved in - two years earlier. As their letters across the time gap also reveal, they had in fact met in person at a party once in the recent past, hosted by Kate's boyfriend at the time, Morgan (Dylan Walsh). As they try to unravel the mystery and attempt to meet up again, they collide with fate.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Reunited on screen after their Speed-y debut in 1994 as co-stars, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock bring their respective talents to this badly fumbled attempt at a supernatural romantic comedy. It's one thing to happily suspend disbelief in pursuit of a cinematic escape, it's quite another to be confronted by a film that contradicts its own internal logic so comprehensively.
The film begins well enough, establishing the intriguing lake house, perched on stilts at the edge of the lake in outer Chicago. Kate (Sandra Bullock) leaves a note in the letter box intended for the incoming tenant. But Alex Wyler is not the next tenant; he lived there before her, a piece of information they discover early on in their correspondence, which is facilitated entirely through the letterbox - with its red flag signifying new contents popping up and down as if by magic, even as the protagonists watch, each invisible to the other. But things get even more silly and we are busy trying to un-knot the time shift issues and work out how it all fits together. We are easily distracted because the subplots about Kate's work (where Shohreh Aghdashloo provides a more sympathetic mother figure than her real mum) and Alex's father (the cruel and cold Simon (Christopher Plummer) are utterly banal and unnecessary.
Instead of taking greater care of the core story and making it work, the filmmakers abandon all interest in their device to keep the would be lovers apart until the end, bringing them together well before time and dissipating the payoff.
And then to make sure the film is completely ruined, the plot contradicts itself about the living and the dead so openly it's almost funny. Unless you've paid for your tickets.
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LAKE HOUSE, THE (PG)
CAST: Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Christopher Plummer, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Willeke van Ammelrooy
PRODUCER: Doug Davison, Roy Lee
DIRECTOR: Alejandro Agresti
SCRIPT: David Auburn
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Alar Kivilo
EDITOR: Alejandro Brodersohn, Lynzee Klingman
MUSIC: Rachel Portman
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Nathan Crowley
RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 27, 2006
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment
VIDEO RELEASE: November 30, 2006
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.