The Lake House

I'm actually a little surprised at this movie. The people responsible for marketing this movie have managed to promote a science fiction story as a romance so effectively that it managed to grab the number four weekend box-office slot. Yes, for those of you who didn't recognize it, a movie about people back and forth across a two-year time gap is science fiction. (If you want to be really nitpicky, I suppose it might be more accurate to classify this one as magic realism.) In fact, it's one of the most cliched science fiction ideas out there: the time travel story. Time travel has been done to death in the SF genre, from Robert Heinlein to Back to the Future. For me, the main problem of this movie is that it didn't do its homework well enough to avoid the rather huge plot holes. See, a person writing a time travel story has to make up his mind whether or not the past (and, therefore, the future) can be changed. He has to pick one and stick to it, otherwise the inconsistencies will eventually bother the attentive viewer enough to overshadow whatever may have been done right. That's where I'm at with The Lake House. Not to say there weren't other problems. Keanu still can't act. I mean, he's gotten much better over the past ten years or so, to the point where he's quite believable as long as he doesn't talk. And Sandra Bullock actually has much better acting chops than she gets credit for, which I largely attribute to the fact that she's so annoyingly typecast. The film also tended to drag in spots due to its over-reliance on voiceover and brooding close-ups of the leads--and the attempts of the director to get away from those elements were mostly quite clumsy. Despite all that, I still felt like there was some underlying heart to the film, some touching nugget of romance to it. And I felt like that for about 15 minutes after the end, at which point all of the "Why didn't she..." questions started occurring to me and Juliette. It really killed whatever good feeling I had about the film. Still, it does leave me hopeful for future forays into speculative genres, hopefully by better writers.

Viewed: 6/15/2006 | Released: 6/15/2006 | Score: C

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