For all its logical inconsistencies — and they are legion — The Lake House is an enjoyable romantic movie with an otherworldly flavor, and not just because the plot centers on time travel. The movie itself feels like it’s from another era, infused with old-fashioned charm that helps one overlook a storyline rife with paradoxes.
As in The Love Letter, the film’s main characters, played by Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, are grounded in their respective eras, but their letters find a portal through time. In The Love Letter it was a desk; The Lake House features a humble, rusty mailbox.
One of my favorite aspects of the movie was watching the red flag flip magically up and down as Reeves and Bullock exchanged mail across a two-year gap. As time travel goes, two years is a blip, a nothing, but it’s a chasm when waiting to meet a potential soulmate.
The time-challenged lovers of The Lake House live sequentially in the same glass-walled home that gives the film its name, and each owns in turn the same scruffy dog. They walk the same streets and eat in the same cafes, but always separated by that river of time.
What would you want someone to tell you in a letter from two years hence? A set of winning lottery numbers? Warnings to pass on to others? A glimpse of what lies around your own corner? Or would you be content as they are to explore the thoughts, dreams and aspirations of another person, ignoring the larger implications?
The Lake House is definitely a love story firmly focused on two people’s intertwined journeys, but even with my soulmate at the other end of the mailbox, winning numbers would help renovate a lot of lake houses.
Film Friday: Do you give The Lake House your stamp of approval?