here IS a quality to "The Lake House" that lingers in the mind days afterward.
For a film in which the element of Time is uniquely important, "The Lake House" manages to convey an odd sense of universal timelessness. It as though the specific When is less relevant than the universality of human thought, feeling, and decision. An almost mystical quality.
"The Lake House" is that rare film which not only invites but welcomes a repeat viewing. The first time simply follow What happens in the story. See the film again to more fully enjoy How this story elegantly unfolds.
This is NOT a time travel film. Repeat, NOT. Each character in this film experiences only his or her own natural time moving forward in the usual linear chronological way. What changes is each character's perspective on what they are experiencing over time, and how each's perception of their Past informs Present decisions which impact Future events.
If I had to pick one theme to describe this picture: at the time they occur, we may not even recognize the most important encounters or events in our lives.
Alex (Keanu Reeves) and Kate (Sandra Bullock) are two seemingly unconnected persons who have lived in the lake house of the title – exactly two years apart. Through seeming accident they find that they can communicate with each other directly, in immediate personally experienced time, through the mysterious mailbox at the lake house. We then follow the often startling events each experiences – and writes about to the other – over the next two years of their lives, Alex from February of 2004 to 2006, Kate from February 2006 to 2008. The result is . . . an extraordinary film that both satisfies the intellect and engages on a surprisingly emotional level.
Their roles here are a significant departure from usual for both Reeves and Bullock, but not to worry. Individually, this is either's best work anywhere. Collectively, their chemistry is exceptional. Subplots in the story are developed through some superb supporting performances, most notably the two parents. Christopher Plummer is achingly brilliant as Alex' demanding genius architect father, and Dutch actress Willeke van Ammelrooy positively oozes wit and warmth as Kate's mother.
The lake house itself . . . physically brings out so much emotional subtext in this film that it ought to be credited as a separate character. (If no artist/architect has actually built this house, they should!)
Altogether, "The Lake House" is one of most rewarding films of any type I have seen in many years.
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