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The Lake House
Reviewed by Gary Mitchel, © 2006

Format: Movie
By:   Alejandro Agresti (director)
Genre:   Sci-Fi Romance
Released:   June 16, 2006
Review Date:   June 30, 2006
Audience Rating:   PG
RevSF Rating:   7/10 (What Is This?)

The time thing? It's a minor detail.

– Kate's Mom

You know, guys, sometimes you have to take a hit for the team. We know you're a smart, attractive geek, because you're here. Which means you're dating. And sadly, not every geek is lucky enough to find that rare, elusive, beautiful being known as the female geek. This means you have a "normal" girlfriend who tolerates your interests in genre entertainment, but does not share them. In return, sometimes you have to go to one of "those" movies. One that "normal" women enjoy; one that is missing what we live for. No explosions. No ray guns. No wirework kung-fu. Just . . . people. And their . . . feelings. The horror that is . . . the chick flick.

On the other hand, dear reader, you could be one of those previously mentioned amazing, intelligent, and very attractive geek females. We know you come to this site, because we respect you. And you read our movie reviews, searching and hoping to find something special. You wonder when you're going to find a sci-fi movie that has those things more elusive than you are: plot and decent characters.

May I present a film that tries to please all of us: the male geek, his "normal" girlfriend, and the female geek: The Lake House.

So here's the skinny: Sandra "Demolition Man" Bullock is Doctor Kate Foster. When the movie opens, she's just finished her residency and is leaving her beautiful lake house and moving to Chicago to start her career. She leaves a note asking the next tenant to please forward her mail to her. This note is found by architect Alex Wyler (Keanu "Neo" Reeves) as he's moving in. The message puzzles him because not only is the date on the letter wrong, it mentions things in the house that aren't there, like paint paw prints on the walkway to the house.

As they correspond through the mailbox, leaving messages back and forth, they discover that they are somehow communicating through time. Alex is actually two years in Kate's past, to the day. If they are both at this mailbox, they can actually have a weird sort of instant message conversation, or leave a note and come back for the reply later.

Time still moves forward for them, day by day, but staying two years apart Writing to each other, they develop what has to be the ultimate long distance relationship.

As the movie unfolds we watch their lives, and see this is just about the only way each of them would find someone they love. Kate is wounded by life, and keeps people at a "safe" distance. Alex has a driven, famous and award-winning architect father (Christopher "Star Trek 6" Plummer) who made it hard for Alex to connect with people as well.

So as time moves forward, and Alex and Kate fall for each other, the movie plays like a regular chick flick, with the addition of the time twist. It has all the drama, pathos and sundries of a regular chick flick. For those not into chick flicks, the movie will seem slow. But if you like plot and character development . . . it's still a little slow, but enjoyable.

The movie does have some plot holes. Why doesn't Kate just Google Alex and go find him? Why doesn't he meet her when he says he will? What exactly is allowing them to communicate like this? I have a theory, but it's a pretty major plot point, so I shall not spoil it. But if I'm right, it's very clever.

The movie's other flaw may not be a flaw to some people. This is a movie that takes its good sweet time to develop, and so it can feel very slow in places.

What makes the movie work is the fact that the characters are well written; and, as in Speed, Keanu and Bullock have a very good chemistry together. It's also fun watching Alex set up things for Kate to enjoy in the future, like planting a tree she likes in front of where her apartment complex is/will be.

The Lake House is a romance movie with a sci-fi hook, which means that there are enough "what if" possibilities to keep your geek side interested. It also has all the plot and emotional growth to keep romance fans happy. And it shows that, in some cases, a long distance relationship can work.

The Lake House is a romantic movie with a sci-fi hook, which means that there are enough "what if" possibilities to keep geek guys and gals interested. It also has all the plot and emotional growth to keep "normal" romance fans happy. There may not be enough of each genre to really fulfill either camp completely, but there are enough tidbits that it makes for a good compromise date movie for the geek and non-geek camps.

Much like the residence of the title, The Lake House is a cool little place with some flaws, but with scenic views and some character, it's worth living in for awhile before moving on to find a better place to habitate.


RevSF SpankMuppet and staff time-tripper Gary Mitchel mispronounces Socrates, just to see if you’re geek enough.

 
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