June 20, 2006 > The Lake House
The Lake House
Rated PG for some language and a disturbing image
Dr. Kate Forester (Sandra Bullock) is an introverted woman who buries herself in her professional life to keep from opening up to new experiences and people. The only glimpse into her personal life is revealed through the letters she writes to Alex Wyler (Keanu Reeves), her new lake house tenant. Alex peaks her interest after his curious response to her letter welcoming him to the lake house. Kate notices that Alex dated his letter April 14, 2004, when in fact the true date is April 14, 2006. She dismisses it as a mistake or joke and points this out to him, but Alex isn't joking. As they continue writing to each other through the lake house mailbox, they go on to discover evidence that they are unbelievably living two years apart. These letters soon become more personal until the two finally fall in love, and decide that they have to find a way to be together.
Reminiscent of the 2001 film, Kate and Leopold, the love story encompasses two people in different time periods who want to find a way to make their relationship work. The Lake House is a much more dramatic version of this story since they're struggling to be together physically in the same time period. Not surprisingly, John Cusack was the first choice for man-of-the-past Alex Wyler; however, Cusack turned down the offer and Keanu Reeves literally stepped into the picture. The part of Wyler was clearly written with Cusack in mind, as it's similar to roles Cusack is best known for - a man looking for love but always having to fight for it.
This is an interesting concept with potential, but it fell short with Reeves' casting. Reeves and Cusack have very different acting styles and handing a Cusack role to Reeves was definitely not the right choice for this film. Reeves' static and bland delivery keeps the film from capturing the audience, even in the most dramatic and emotionally heavy scenes. In one scene, audiences watch love-stricken Reeves cry, but his attempt at portraying some sort of emotion fails badly, leaving viewers to feel bad for him and forget about Alex in this brief moment. This is not to say Reeves is a terrible actor, but clearly his talents are meant for a different style, one more like his successful Matrix trilogy.
The Lake House is saved by Sandra Bullock's performance, but it's still only enough to make it movie-rental material.