×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Lake House

A peculiar wrinkle in time links two Chicago lonely hearts in "The Lake House," but director Alejandro Agresti and screenwriter David Auburn seem more interested in making a wanly romantic Hallmark postcard than a movie resonating with mystery and loss.

With:
Alex Wyler - Keanu Reeves Kate Forster - Sandra Bullock Morgan - Dylan Walsh Anna - Shohreh Aghdashloo Simon Wyler - Christopher Plummer Henry Wyler - Ebon Moss-Bachrach Kate's Mother - Willeke Van Ammelrooy Mona - Lynn Collins

A peculiar wrinkle in time links two Chicago lonely hearts in “The Lake House,” but director Alejandro Agresti and screenwriter David Auburn seem more interested in making a wanly romantic Hallmark postcard than a movie resonating with mystery and loss. Based on Lee Hyeon-seung’s 2000 Korean romancer “Il Mare,” pic reps one of the first Hollywood remakes of a recent East Asian film not belonging to the horror genre. But pic lacks the astonishing moments, strong emotions or real amusement — let alone real heat between co-leads Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock — that would encourage more remakes of its kind or generate any feeling in audiences other than indifference.

A mailbox at a home built on stilts over a body of water becomes a conduit for a pair of the home’s occupants separated by a two-year time span in the original cute but finally messy “Il Mare” story. This time, it feels strained.

The sheer fun of being in the position of Dr. Kate Forster (Bullock) or architect Alex Wyler (Reeves) and communicating with a stranger across time is filtered out of Argentine helmer Agresti’s (“Valentin,” “The Act in Question”) handling, with pic aiming for profundity through multiple story levels that aren’t fully realized.

Opening minutes almost exactly trace “Il Mare,” with Kate packing and moving from the glass-box-style house perched over Lake Michigan on Chicago’s North Shore, and Alex moving in, finding a note from Kate in the mailbox requesting her mail be forwarded and apologizing for the dog paw prints at the entrance.

Alex doesn’t see any paw prints, but a day or so later, a dog appears and makes a mess. As the pair starts exchanging puzzled notes, Kate corrects Alex on his dating, noting that it’s 2006, not 2004.

Agresti has the mailbox’s red flag go magically up and down to show Alex and Kate are connecting — a clever visual device. Nonetheless, one wonders why, when the twosome are clearly growing interested in one another, Kate doesn’t simply give Alex her phone number.

The adaptation by Auburn (“Proof”) departs from the original in the half-achieved dramatization of Kate’s (other) love life and Alex’s family life, particularly in the complicated interaction between Alex, his father Simon (Christopher Plummer) and Alex’s younger brother Henry (Ebon Moss-Bachrach).

Even as Kate’s involvement with buttoned-down lawyer Morgan (Dylan Walsh) leads to potential frissons of emotions that never ignite, the playing out of Alex’s love-hate relationship with Simon uneasily tries to draw connections between the main love story and a father-son drama that poses the same sort of tensions between a genius parent and unsure mentor-child as in “Proof,” but with far less conviction.

“The Lake House” is never quite sure what it wants to be –a magical-mysterious love story, a psychodrama, a sprawling family saga, or an uneasy combination of these. For all its manifest nonsense, “Il Mare” maintained direction as a chamber piece between two characters trying to connect across time, if not space; “The Lake House” aspires to be more and in the process, loses track of its central core.

Bullock makes the rather glum n’ solemn Kate a shade glummer, bringing the movie’s energy level down several stops. Reeves, on the other hand, seems pleased when his Alex senses that true love is entering his life.

In a fatuously written role, Plummer loads on the ham to distressing effect, while Shohreh Aghdashloo (as Kate’s doctor friend) and Walsh are burdened with poorly conceived dialogue. Moss-Bachrach contributes a nice accent of friskiness.

Production package is solid though uninspired, including a Rachel Portman score that hints that the talented composer is repeating herself once too often and a misty-eyed lensing scheme by Alar Kivilo. Key contribution by production designer Nathan Crowley, a house you might not want to really live in, is far from memorable.

The Lake House

Production: A Warner Bros. release presented in association with Village Roadshow Pictures of a Vertigo Entertainment production. Produced by Doug Davidson, Roy Lee. Executive producers, Mary McLaglen, Erwin Stoff, Dana Goldberg, Bruce Berman. Co-producer, Sonny Mallhi. Directed by Alejandro Agresti. Screenplay, David Auburn, based on the motion picture, "Il Mare," produced by Sidus.

Crew: Camera (Technicolor, Panavision widescreen), Alar Kivilo; editors, Lynzee Klingman, Alejandro Brodersohn; music, Rachel Portman; music supervisor, John Houlihan; production designer, Nathan Crowley; art directors, Kevin Kavanaugh, Tom S. Voth; set designer, Craig Jackson; set decorator, Meg Everest; costume designer, Deena Appel; sound (Dolby Digital/SDDS/DTS), Scott D. Smith; sound designer, Frank Gaeta; supervising sound editor, Gaeta; visual effects supervisor, Jason Piccioni; visual effects, WBA Visual Effects; assistant directors, Josh McLaglen, Justin Muller. Reviewed at Warner Bros. studios, Burbank, June 7, 2006. MPAA Rating: PG. Running time: 98 MIN.

With: Alex Wyler - Keanu Reeves Kate Forster - Sandra Bullock Morgan - Dylan Walsh Anna - Shohreh Aghdashloo Simon Wyler - Christopher Plummer Henry Wyler - Ebon Moss-Bachrach Kate's Mother - Willeke Van Ammelrooy Mona - Lynn Collins

More Film

  • 'Brokeback Mountain,' 'Jurassic Park' Added to

    'Brokeback Mountain,' 'Jurassic Park,' 'My Fair Lady' Added to National Film Registry

    “Brokeback Mountain,” “Jurassic Park,” “My Fair Lady,” “The Shining,” “Hud” and “Monterey Pop” are among the best known titles among this year’s additions to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. A place on the list — always made up of 25 films — guarantees the film will be preserved under the terms [...]

  • Christian Bale'Vice' film premiere, Arrivals, Los

    Christian Bale Recalls Meeting Donald Trump: 'He Thought I Was Bruce Wayne'

    With Christian Bale’s latest film, “Vice,” a political dramedy, it’s inevitable ties will be drawn between the film and the current political administration and its chief, President Donald Trump. On the red carpet for the premiere of “Vice,” Bale, who stars as former Vice President Dick Cheney, shared that he met the current president while [...]

  • ‘Bumblebee’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad

    ‘Bumblebee’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Paramount Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Bumblebee.” Ads placed for the sci-fi/action film had an estimated media value of $6.31 million through Sunday for 941 national [...]

  • Ryan Reynolds Stunt

    Film News Roundup: Ryan Reynolds' Michael Bay Film '6 Underground' Wraps Production

    In today’s film news roundup, shooting has wrapped on Ryan Reynolds’ “6 Underground,” BAFTA LA names new board members, and the WGA East honors longtime exec Randall Jasta.  PRODUCTION Michael Bay’s Ryan Reynolds-starrer “6 Underground” has wrapped production. More Reviews Film Review: 'Springsteen on Broadway' Off Broadway Review: 'Clueless' the Musical Netflix and Skydance Media completed [...]

  • Bruce Springsteen on Broadway

    Film Review: 'Springsteen on Broadway'

    Hope you like the 69-year-old version of Bruce Springsteen’s face, because it’s virtually all you’re going to see for the two hours and 40 minutes of the filmed “Springsteen on Broadway” — other than the bare brick wall of the theater casting a dim glow in the background beyond those gray sideburns, and two songs’ [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'A Star Is Born,' 'Vice' Lead 2018 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Nominees

    The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) announced their nominees for the 8th annual AACTA International Awards on Tuesday. “A Star Is Born” and “Vice” lead the pack, with five and four nominations respectively. The two leading films compete with “BlacKkKlansman,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “Roma” for best film, while Nicole Kidman becomes the [...]

  • China's Government Orders Talent Home to

    After Golden Horse Awards Embarrassment, China Orders Talent Home for Huabiao Ceremony

    China’s government quietly ordered top Chinese talent back to the mainland from abroad this past weekend to attend a Beijing ceremony for its highest film industry honors, the loosely bi-annual Huabiao Awards. The move came just weeks after it directed mainland film executives and talent to snub after-parties and return home as quickly as possible [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content