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The Lake House

Genre: Romance / Drama
Rated: PG
Directed by
: Alejandro Agresti
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Christopher Plummer, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Willeke van Ammelroy, Dylan Walsh
Released by: Warner Bros

In Short: This slow-paced melodrama about two would-be lovers living in a lake house in two different years fails to deliver more than one big dose of magical realism.

Time-Crossed Lovers
No Chemistry at the Lake
By D.G. Birmingham

In our postmodern age, Hollywood is desperate to find ways to keep its tortured lovers apart. So we have romance movies where one of the participants is a ghost or trapped in the wrong body or, in the case of the would-be lovers in "The Lake House," living in two different years.

In this remake of a Korean film (known as "Il Mare" or "Siworae"), Reeves turns in a solid performance as Alex, an architect who while slumming his talents to build a condo development, rents a gorgeous lake house once built by his father. When Alex finds a letter from the previous owner, Bullock’s stressed Dr. Kate Forster, in his mailbox asking him to forward her mail, he starts a correspondence. These two soon realize that the mailbox is some kind of magic portal: Kate is the future inhabitant of the lake house and they are actually living two years apart. If the premise sounds silly, don’t look to “The Lake House” to explain it further. If you can’t swallow the plot’s one big dose of magical realism, this is not the film for you.

The leads do justice to their roles, while the always-brilliant Christopher Plumber is on hand to hijack a couple of scenes as Alex’s pompous and prissy father. Director Alejandro Agresti and cinematographer Alar Kivilo fill the frame beautifully, making the Chicago-area architecture a compelling third lead.

As a gripping romance, though, “The Lake House” falters because Bullock and Reeves only have one significant scene together and there is little about their time-crossed correspondence that makes us feel they actually belong together. At times, the film is so plodding I wished Keanu and Sandra were back hurtling along in the bomb-strapped bus they first met on in “Speed.” The script dances around an interesting concept about the importance timing plays in modern relationships, and because of this everything proceeds with an admirable subtlety and sophistication. But when the pieces of the plot’s puzzle are finally put together, the conclusion is neither as devastating nor as sublime as this slow-paced melodrama seems to strive for.

For diehard Reeves and Bullock fans who don’t mind their romances unfolding on the slow side, “The Lake House” will provide an emotional reprieve from the summer’s silly blockbuster fare.


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