The Lake House

An ordinary-looking mailbox located in a temporal wrinkle connects two lonely people who occupied the same house at different times. 2006: Gloomy Dr. Kate Forster (Sandra Bullock), newly hired by Chicago City Hospital, moves out of a modern glass house on the North Shore of Lake Michigan with her scruffy dog, Jack, and into a new downtown apartment building....read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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An ordinary-looking mailbox located in a temporal wrinkle connects two lonely people who occupied the same house at different times. 2006: Gloomy Dr. Kate Forster (Sandra Bullock), newly hired by Chicago City Hospital, moves out of a modern glass house on the North Shore of Lake Michigan with her scruffy dog, Jack, and into a new downtown apartment building. She leaves a letter in the mailbox for the new tenant, asking him to forward her mail and apologizing for the paw prints Jack left near the front door. 2004: Building contractor Alex Wyler (Keanu Reeves), the son of a famous architect (Christopher Plummer), moves into the lakefront house his father built for his family; it's been empty for years. Alex is understandably puzzled by the note he finds from one Kate Forster, who claims she's just moved out, wants her mail forwarded to an apartment building that isn't due to open for a year and a half — ground has barely been broken on the site — and apologizes for nonexistent paw prints. But he impulsively leaves a reply in the mailbox, only to mysteriously get another letter from Kate. Alex and Kate eventually figure out that they're somehow communicating across the divide of two years, and that they're falling in love without ever having met — or have they? As they correspond, they begin to realize that their paths have crossed, and they begin trying to figure out how to make their destinies converge. Argentine director Alejandro Agresti's remake of the 2000 Korean romance Il Mare — in the original, that's the name of a lakefront development; in the remake it's the name of a swanky restaurant — is a mess that works on the level of swoony fantasy if you're willing to accept that it makes absolutely no sense, not even within the context of its supernatural premise. Under those circumstances, its occasional inspired moments — Alex plants a sapling in front of a huge billboard of what will be Kate's building and two years later it suddenly appears, full-grown and luxuriously leafy, as she comes home one rainy night — have a magical loveliness that will resonate with anyone who's ever ached for a love so powerful it can transcend any obstacle. But if that leap is beyond you, the movie becomes more annoying by the minute, further undermined by Reeves' wooden performance and screenwriter David Auburn's awkward dialogue, which spells out the film's themes with painful literal-mindedness.

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  • Released: 2006
  • Rating: PG
  • Review: An ordinary-looking mailbox located in a temporal wrinkle connects two lonely people who occupied the same house at different times. 2006: Gloomy Dr. Kate Forster (Sandra Bullock), newly hired by Chicago City Hospital, moves out of a modern glass house on… (more)

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