Thursday, June 01, 2006

MovieWatch: "The Lake House"

"The Lake House"
Director: Alejandro Agresti
Fien Print Rating (Out of 100): 16
In a Nutshell: Yes, yes. I know I was supposed to be caught up in the romantic swell of Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves playing star-crossed lovers living two years apart, but joined by the same mystical and magical mailbox that never seems to get cluttered with ValPaks, political leaflets and copies of Entertainment Weekly like my mailbox does. I know I was supposed to be so captivated by Sandy and Keanu reuniting on the big screen for the first time since a little film called "Speed." I know that in a fantasy romance of this sort, applying any sort of logic is evil, is counter to the purpose. So I didn't get disturbed by the fact that the nature of the mailbox isn't explained. Whatever. That's not what the movie's about. I didn't get confused by the paper-thin supporting characters. They're not what the movie's about. I didn't dwell on the occasionally interesting things David Auburn did with his adaptation of the 2000 Korean film "Siworae" to make it into a new version of his acclaimed play "Proof," substituting architecture for mathematics. What DID bother me -- what got stuck in my craw just minutes in when I began to anticipate the climactic twist and be annoyed by it -- is that despite all of the feelings that these two strangers develop for each other, despite all of their yearning for information and truth, Sandy, living two years in the future, never thinks to Google her Love From The Past. If Sandy just uses Google (or, heck, an ol' fashioned archive search or a private eye), the entire plot can be resolved in five minutes. That's a hole too big for me to see past. There will be teenage girls who love this movie and there will certainly be worse films, but I can't imagine many cinematic experiences leaving me as frustrated. Oh and Chicago looks very nice and Christopher Plummer is, as always, an acting lion.

My review for this one will be up on Zap2it, oh, whenever it's ready to come out.


  1. Anonymous7:57 AM

    Wow. I don't think you go it...and you're probably the only one. All of your questions don't have to be answered...that's what intelligent movie watchers want. Time, room to draw their own conclusions. The mailbox doesn't need explaination, its begins the movie defying rational. The lovers choose to communicate through the box it adds to the mysticism of the piece. Why mess with that?

    I say, watch the movie again with a less cynical mind. Hopefully you'll get it this time. If not...there's always the latest Fast and Furious.

  2. Anonymous (give yourself a name next time, it's just friendly),

    I'm afraid that while I "got" the movie -- though thanks for explaining it to me like I'm a five-year-old -- I didn't BUY the movie. And I assure you that more than a few of the colleagues I watched the movie with similarly didn't "get" it. I'm not the only one.

    I am, unfortunately, exactly as cynical as I am and can watch the movie with no other mind. What I can do, though, is sometimes get so lost in the world of a movie and the characters of a movie that I stop wondering about the small questions that aren't meant to be answered. There's bound to be a reason why I can watch "Field of Dreams" without ever questioning why the baseball players live in an Iowa corn field, but why I sat through this entirely movie not understanding a single choice any of the characters made. It's not enough to say, "they gave themselves over to romantic destiny" and just let that patch over all of the holes in the movie. I wish it were.

    All I can do in a review is parse my own reactions to a movie. People reading my reviews can decide for themselves if the reasons a movie failed for me aren't likely to bother them. And I doubt that my dismissal of the movie will keep its core audience from enjoying it. I guess.

    And don't worry, I'm not likely to be any more open or accepting of "3 Fast 3 Furious."