The Lake House (2007)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I've been wanting to watch this movie, finally, I had the time to watch it :) Sandra Bullock & Keanu Reeves at their finest :)

The film is about a working man, a working woman, a lake house, a dog, and a mailbox. One of these things is not like the others. One of these things is a time machine.

Sandra Bullock plays a doctor named Kate Forester. Keanu Reeves plays an architect named Alex Wyler. They lead separate, lonely lives in the Chicago area. Kate and Alex become pen pals and tell their friends they’re in a long distance relationship. What they don’t tell their friends, and who could blame them, is that an enchanted mailbox is allowing them to communicate two years apart.

The lake house was designed by Alex’s father, a pompous, aging horse’s ass played by Christopher Plummer (who my grandmother is convinced is Charlton Heston). The house is beautiful and on stilts, made mostly of windows, and even has a tree growing out the middle of it. The tree is displayed by a remote that actually pulls the house apart to reveal the tree. It’s 2004, the house has been “empty for years”. It’s hilarious how young people in romantic comedies are content to sit on piles and piles of cash. My family would have lost the lake house to one addiction or another decades ago.

The format of the movie seems to be as follows: show Kate being a doctor, show Alex being an architect, show Kate tolerating her boyfriend, show Alex tolerating his father. Between these scenes, are more scenes in which Kate is alone and Alex is alone. Actually, they are not alone, because there is a dog. The same dog. Yes, they are strangers… separated by two years… both with the exact same dog.

In the scenes where they are alone, they do lonely people things like eating for one or playing chess with themselves or brushing their teeth in a tiny bathroom. My favorite of these scenes is the one where Alex has made himself some sort of stew or curry or gumbo or something and it is steaming and he says, “Come to papa!” as he pours it from the pot into his bowl. Haha! It’s hilarious!

It’s during the times that they are alone that we hear their letters to one another, through voice-over of each person reading the letter they wrote. The magic mailbox belongs to the lake house. The first letter is left from Kate to Alex, greeting the next tenant and requesting him to forward her mail to the inner city Chicago address she provides. I’m still superbly confused about the precise deliverance of the timemail. Alex responds to Kate at her new address, so I assume that mailbox must also compromise time. But then it shows Kate receiving mail at the lake house mailbox, which is empty in 2006. So theoretically, she is driving out there every time, and reaching into the small metal vortex to retrieve something written two years ago.

At two points in the film, Kate stands outside the lake house mailbox, writing messages and putting them in the mailbox and raising the red mailbox flag. The flag moves up or down before Kate’s eyes in the year 2006 to indicate that Alex is receiving the message, standing in the same spot in 2004. The flag raises up and down like the sound of a google chat notifier ding.

Approximately halfway through the film, they start communicating in sentences. No, less even! Whereas they had previously conversed in entire letters, now they are saying things.

They aren’t shown writing letters at this point, instead they are doing lonely people exercises and talking out loud to the other who is not in the room, nor in the hour, nor in the year.

According to the film’s own logic, they are now connecting through time and space in an instant, line by line as they speak, like time travel instant messaging. (What?) Theoretically, Kate is driving to the lake house mailbox to retrieve each sentence, but it’s portrayed as if they are in the same room. 

Some unsurprising things about this film:

-Kate’s minuscule, nondescript silver earrings. A perfect representation of the film’s lack in characterization.
-This is more or less the director’s first mainstream American film. (Could it be Alejandro Agresti’s last? Is the world that kind?)
-Both characters have been burned by love before. 
-Kate’s present self gets stood up by Alex’s future self. 
-Someone’s future death is prevented. Yawn!
-At no point do either of the main characters express wonder, awe, or general freaked-out-ness. It is unsurprising becase they are unexcitable people. 

You Might Also Like