The Lakehouse

Kate Foster (Sandra Bullock) moves out of her lakeside house leaving a message for new tenant Alex Wyler (Keanu Reeves) to forward any mail. As he reads the message, he is perplexed by situations she describes which haven’t happened. It transpires that they are living different realities 2 years apart, with their daily correspondence bringing them closer together. They both set out to prove that time and distance is no barrier to a growing relationship.
Based on a Korean film, ‘The Lakehouse’ re-unites Reeves and Bullock who proved a potent combination in the 1994 film ‘Speed’. Their easy going chemistry is in evidence for this latest team-up, although the scenes where they are both apart highlight the limitations of both actors. Reeves does his best with the material, but remains an unconvincing romantic lead. Bullock has always had a limited acting range, with the remote feel of the story exposing the wooden acting for which she has become known. Only Christopher Plummer as Alex’s father gives the film any credibility, playing an emotionally stunted man, who originally built the lakehouse as a gift to his wife.
Hollywood romance films prove to be fodder for the most unlikeliest of scenarios in which star crossed lovers can unite. The main crux of the story is based on a time paradox concept that unfortunately raises more questions than giving answers, with gaping holes left by its conclusion. The use of split screen to show the characters bonding over time works occasionally, but only makes the story needlessly complicated. At times the film comes close to providing some fascinating potential plot developments, but these are pushed aside once the very pedestrian romance heats up.
The major problem is that whilst there is a skeleton of a story on display, the heart of the film never beats as well as it should. The sub-plots only seem peripheral to the main event, which itself isn’t strong enough to sustain a feature length film. The characters aren’t as well developed as they should have been, with the leads seemingly lost in the films time warp premise. There is never a clear explanation of how they were able to communicate in the first place, which apparently the screenwriter arrogantly assumes the audience will just accept.
The science fiction angle seems quite a strange way of basing a romance on, and only works if you don’t think too closely of the many leaps in logic the film makes. ‘The Lakehouse’ is a mild diversion that seems like a romantic episode of The Twilight Zone than anything published by Mills and Boon.
Rating out of 10: 4

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