The Lake House

My wife has her third round with the flu. With tonight’s descent of bitter winter on central Iowa, we enjoyed a movie we picked up a few weeks ago and hadn’t gotten around to seeing: The Lake House.

The young miss has determined Sandra Bullock is one of her favorite actors, so it sort of supplements one of her Christmas gifts–a movie four-pack of comedies. Tonight’s film, however, is definitely not a comedy.

My wife warned me that this had better not be a sad movie. Honestly, I wasn’t sure. I had heard very little about it before pressing the play button. I knew the premise: two people correspond despite being separated by two years in time. It plays out fairly well in the beginning. It keeps a logical flow throughout. It takes one premise outside the realm of the known, namely that two people can correspond though separated by two years in time. It doesn’t clutter up that notion with any other fantastic ideas; it only explores the consequences of just the one.

The Rotten Tomatoes people didn’t get it. But I’m not as cynical as most movie reviewers, especially when I’m watching a romantic film with my wife. That said, I also viewed it with a science fiction eye, and I’m going to offer some dissent from the groupthink of the sf world as it addresses so-called time paradoxes.

There is no such thing as a time paradox. Let me say it again:

There is no such thing as a time paradox.

If it were possible to go back in time and change the future, a time traveler could do it. There is no magic wall around “what was supposed to happen” and if an architect wants to plant a tree for a woman, it’s darn well going to appear over her when she needs it. Case closed.

I was distracted by the “conversation” between the two correspondents until I remembered that there is an early scene in which they banter back and forth through the lake house’s mailbox. Problem solved. The screenwriter and the director carry it off well. They’re not going to sit Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves in front of a mailbox when all of architectural Chicago beckons. The conversations were filmed the way they needed to be filmed. What’s important is to show (not tell) the lovers communicated, and they did. Case closed.

That reminds me: the cinematography was excellent.

Roger Ebert nails my sense of it all:

Enough of the plot and its paradoxes. What I respond to in the movie is its fundamental romantic impulse. It makes us hope these two people will somehow meet.

Of course. One science fiction idea: communication through time. Two people in love. Case closed.

My science fiction mind would probably discredit this movie as sf. It’s really a fantasy. Same genre as It’s A Wonderful Life. More playing with time: what if a person had never been born. I don’t think audiences and critics got that film at first, either.

As for this movie, I enjoyed it as a romance. No problem with the science fiction fantasy aspect, either. It made perfect sense to me. As a film it was enjoyably filmed and soundtracked. Solid recommendation, especially with the one you love.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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One Response to The Lake House

  1. crystal says:

    I still haven’t seen this – maybe I’ll get it. Speaking of time travel and changing things and romance, did you see Source Code? I thought it was pretty good.

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