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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Sandra Bullock
Keanu Reeves
Dylan Walsh
Shohreh Aghdashloo
Christopher Plummer.
Directors
Alejandro Agresti.
Screenwriters
David Auburn.
Running Time
98 minutes

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The Lake House
Reeves and Bullock in time-travelling romance.


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Plot
Living in the same house but separated by two years, Dr. Kate Forster (Bullock) and architect Alex Wyler (Reeves) begin a relationship by letter that inexplicably traverses time. As their relationship intensifies, the pair have to reconcile their growing feelings against the reality of their lives.


Review
The Lake House
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The polar opposite of speed, Keanu Reeves and Sandy Buttocks’ first movie together since The Bus That Couldn’t Slow Down is a slow, borderline sombre, but absorbing time-travel love story. A remake of little-seen Taiwanese film Il Mare, retooled by Argentinian director Agresti — who made the charming Valentin — The Lake House buttresses Sleepless In Seattle up against novel The Time Traveler’s Wife. The result grows on you, but never delivers the moving sucker-punch the stars and concept deserve.

Early doors, things do not look promising. The slick juxtaposition of Kate and Alex’s separate lives sets in motion a rigid structure, throwing up workaday scenes that offer little in the way of character quirks or plot hooks. But things pick up immeasurably once the ‘long-distance’ relationship gathers momentum, with cute moments like Alex planting a sapling that arrives fully grown outside Kate’s house. From here on in, the movie has fun filtering romance through time-travel devices — Alex books a restaurant two years in advance — but gives the relationship enough weight so you’ll forgive it the inevitable logic lapses.

A long way from the sleek Neo, a subdued Reeves skulks about in high-neck jumpers and doesn’t really sell an estranged relationship with his father (Christopher Plummer), but does enough
to make the relationship and Kate’s investment feel real. Bullock fares much better, reminding us what an underrated dramatic actress she is, doing interesting things with an underwritten role — watch her compose herself for a surprise party she’s not in the mood for.

Enhancing the tenderness of the tale, Agresti lenses the action in soft, pretty tones and compiles a soundtrack of different likeable acoustic songs. But, as befalls many epistolary movies, he runs
out of steam coming up with new ways of dramatising the letters, resorting to heavy voiceover and characters talking aloud to themselves in scenes that feel false. He also can’t help piling on the visual metaphors — the Lake House is a glassy abode hemmed in by water that — hey!— mirrors Kate and Alex’s disconnectedness — and deploys a shameless use of HHISS (Heavy Handed Ice-Skating Symbolism) to underline Kate’s singledom. Still, he keeps the central conceit engaging and sweet and, if he blatantly telegraphs one major plot point, The Lake House is that romantic rarity, a love story where the fate of the lovers could go either way.


Verdict
A compelling idea delicately handled and neatly played, especially by Bullock. It just lacks the emotional directness to turn the good into the great.


Reviewed by Ian Freer

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Lake House
Empire Star Rating

a fairly standard love story......yet this doesn't stop you enjoying it

I enjoyed this film. Admittedly, the idea isn't particularly original anymore but yet the narrative of this film cast the story in a different light which enhanced its appeal. I couldn't help being carried along by the story. Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock are taking on different roles in this film, ones we don't really expect to see them as and yet they do appear to give it their all. Ultimately i found the film moving, compelling, thought-provoking and uplifting.......one of the bett... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by WhiteRabbit23 at 17:00, 10 August 2009 | Report This Post


i thought this movie was a stunning piece of slow drama, from Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, really good performances from the both of them. Worth watching ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by umer_ejaz at 15:19, 12 May 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Re: The lake house

Rather enjoyed this romantic movie on the whole. It had a good pace and questionable plot that ironed itself out nicely half way through. Although Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves lacked a certain chemistry in comparison to Speed (the unstoppable bus may or may not have contributed to its sexual tension) The Lake House does contain a thought-provoking and pleasant love story that fans would find entertaining. Plus - already mentioned - the "chick flick" finale proved to be the highlight for some... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jessica_ca_ca_ca at 09:52, 25 October 2006 | Report This Post


Re: The lake house

I loved this movie! I was so expecting him to die, but I got the happy chick flicky ending I was hoping for ( I just can't help it, I like when things work out!) Thought Keanu was good, and *hot*! What more could you want from this chick-flick??!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Striders Gal at 20:57, 24 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE:

Saw this today and really liked it. I have always like Sandra Bullock and Keanu is just easy on the eye. Okay so there were a few inconsistencies, but that aside it was a warm, well acted movie, that made me teary eyed at the end and not many films do that. I'd recommned it. ... More

Posted by Newander at 20:09, 24 October 2006 | Report This Post


As someone in a long-distance relationship, i guess it was always going to resonate with me, and the performances of Reeves and Bullock are very very good. The films ending was a bit wanky, but other than that i really liked it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Rhubarb at 00:17, 30 September 2006 | Report This Post


Low-tech, compelling romance

Every time-slip film is full of inconsistencies - how could it not be? So why quibble about details? I went with girlfriends to see this film and we all enjoyed its quiet low-tech scenario and pace, though it helps if you're a Keanu Reeves fan (I am, so I'm biased!). We thought Keanu Reeves acted well and found the pathetic father/son relationship sad and convincing. Personally I tire of overacting, and therefore enjoyed Keanu's understated performance. Not sure if I'm disappointed with the endi... More

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Posted by Artemisia at 19:17, 12 August 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Questions............ oh, the questions!!!! Cont.

CONTAINS SPOILERS   OK this is fairly long, and you might think it a little long considering The Lake House is a relatively inconsequential film, but I think it has been unfairly treated, plus people have raised time-travel issues which I feel are either ill-thought through or just misunderstood, so here goes.   I think many critics have been unfair to this film. Sure it's a Hollywood romance, but most bad reviews have criticised it for this reason alone - you're supposed to ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Davechoc at 19:50, 05 July 2006 | Report This Post


lake House

I wasn't hoping for much, before going to see it, but I was pleasantly suprised. Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves always have great chemistry together, even if they aren't together on screen that much. Both managed to make the relationship feel real, ok so some of the dialogue is really cheesy, but if you just want to half decent romance comedy them I highly recommend this. ... More

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Posted by Tohru_Readman at 13:24, 02 July 2006 | Report This Post


Forget logic - just enjoy the romance

Must admit that I'm a big Keanu fan, so the lead was someone else I wouldn't have gone to watch it. It's enjoyable sappy film. Shame about the ending, I was looking forward to a good cry, but got a cheesy ending instead ... More

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Posted by yatty at 11:42, 30 June 2006 | Report This Post


i must admit to being a long term sandra fanmy mates once got a picture of her printed on a t shirt for my birthday so i have to admit to being a fan since demolition man and indeed speed. my fave film of hers is while you were sleeping an adorable rom com this is however a different kettle of fish altogether. this is quite a slow soulful tale reminiscent of city of angels two lost souls trying to make a connection with each ... More

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Posted by quizkid at 15:24, 29 June 2006 | Report This Post


... More

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Posted by aronandjim at 00:30, 28 June 2006 | Report This Post


The Lake House

The Lake House: {MAY contain unavoidable minor spoilers} Kate Foster (Sandra Bullock) is a doctor. We first see Kate as she is leaving the Lake House to move to the city and her new job. When we first see Alex Wyler (Keanu Reeves) an architect, he is moving into the same Lake House. It is here that we see Alex as he opens a letter from the previous tenant, Kate who asks him to please forward her mail to her. She also informs him of a box in the attic that should be left in tact as it was from ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blair witch at 17:56, 26 June 2006 | Report This Post


The Lake House

The Lake House: {MAY contain unavoidable minor spoilers} Kate Foster (Sandra Bullock) is a doctor. We first see Kate as she is leaving the Lake House to move to the city and her new job. When we first see Alex Wyler (Keanu Reeves) an architect, he is moving into the same Lake House. It is here that we see Alex as he opens a letter from the previous tenant, Kate who asks him to please forward her mail to her. She also informs him of a box in the attic that should be left in tact as it was from ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blair witch at 17:56, 26 June 2006 | Report This Post


RE: The Lake House

Went to see the Lake House last night. Yeah, it was good! Had a nice dreamy tone to it. Sandra and Keanu are always likable, and there's definitely a chemistry there, even if they if share little screen time together. The whole time-shift thing, which made me grown when I saw the trailer, is actually used as it should be - as a means to tell a story, rather than as a set up for a series of cheap gags (though there is a bit of that). There'... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by DoormanJay at 14:12, 26 June 2006 | Report This Post


Like the Lake House the film needs work but it's fantastic in places. The leads are very good and make a believable couple. This film seems not to worry about the butterfly effect too much but in the end you don't really mind. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by cluesy at 21:48, 25 June 2006 | Report This Post


Ah, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock reunited on the big screen for the first time since Speed. Admittedly for that fact alone I was looking forward to this film, sadly I was dissappointed by what I saw. Yes Bullock was good as always, Reeves, well not the worst I've seen him but the plot?? Hmmm..... a lot is left to be desired. All in all a feel good movie but leave your brain at the door and enjoy it for what it is, a sweet romance where in the end....well I'm sure you've guessed it by now... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Loxley at 10:39, 25 June 2006 | Report This Post


Not Bad, but Misses the Mark in Places

I expected a lot less from this film. While it has its plot holes and at times leaves you having to work hard to try to piece certain aspects of the time travel together, in the end, it is a sweet and simple love story. Also, this is a tale told entirely through metaphor. The lake house itself tells of how disjointed people are from who they really are inside and who they are to those around them. By looking at the face value of a person, we can never truly know what is happening underneat... More

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Posted by lulu karma at 04:58, 25 June 2006 | Report This Post


... More

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Posted by sal1610 at 20:42, 24 June 2006 | Report This Post


Nothin special... and it could have been!

Well leads were gd... and the time travel post box was funny and could have used more! The fact that not much changed like certain deaths, wasnt v gd and could have been developed! I was expecting a romantic version of frequency but was left a ickle dissapointed... oh well ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Funk at 18:18, 24 June 2006 | Report This Post


Questions............ oh, the questions!!!! Cont.

Despite having to stop analysing this film, my main question now is whether Lake House 2 will be about how they become billionaires by Kate telling Alex which horses to bet on................................... ;-) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Moonshine79 at 17:29, 24 June 2006 | Report This Post


Questions............ oh, the questions!!!!

An intensely surreal film, punctuated with mistakes, that will have you asking questions long after the lights have come back on in the cinema - but to which, sadly, we are left without an answer. The movie fundamentally lacks any credibilty whatsoever with the film makers expecting the viewers to overlook the whole unlikelihood of not so much the situation itself (the 2 main characters meeting when living 2 years apart) but their reaction to it. Neither they, their family or friends so much ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Moonshine79 at 17:18, 24 June 2006 | Report This Post


I haven't watched the film yet,but just want to clear some points. The Lake House was remade from KOREAN film,Il Mare,not Taiwanese. And it's very famous in Asia. It's one of my most beloved movies of all time. SO don't judge the film as little-seen because you haven't watched it. By the way,the trailer doesn't seem to capture the "warm loneliness" feeling,which is the heart of the original Il Mare. I'll select rating as soon as I watch it in theatre. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mononoke hime at 15:21, 22 June 2006 | Report This Post


A small amdenment needed

I am a big fan of Ian Freer, but he has made one big mistake in this review. The Lake House is in fact a remake of a Korean film, not Taiwainese. A modest hit in Korea in 2000, Korea sold the rights to Hollywood. You can find more info on the film on http://www.koreanfilm.org.uk/5.html. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by koreanjase at 13:15, 21 June 2006 | Report This Post


RE: THE LAKE HOUSE

L: The Waco Kid I'm afraid i must disagree with you there. Having just seen it it is basically the usual lovey dovey brainless shit that Hollywood keeps pedalling out. It's no fucking wonder piracy is rife if shit like this gets the green light. I expected a better performance from Keanu. The only saving grace of this film is that Miss Bullock is looking quiet "hot" these days. sp; Keanu's performance was perfect for the role. And this movie was not usual, neither brain... More

Posted by ailika at 09:51, 20 June 2006 | Report This Post


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