Making the Grades
After architect Alex Wyler (Keanu Reeves) moves into an unusual house, which was designed by his father (Christopher Pummer), he finds a memo from the previous tenant in the mailbox. Curiously, it's dated 2006, even though Alex is unpacking his boxes in 2004. When he corrects the author of the note, he is snidely accused of being confused.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the script, Dr. Kate Forster (Sandra Bullock) is in the process of moving out of the same glass-walled home on the lake. Discovering a letter in the mailbox dated two years earlier, she becomes convinced someone is playing a prank on her. But when the correspondence with the man from the past begins happening as quickly as she can place the paper into the box and put up the delivery flag, she begins to believe the impossible is really happening: Somehow, she is communicating with someone in another time.
So begins the romance framing this movie, featuring a plot that twists fate around many of the characters' life events and moments of decision. To say anything more would risk giving away many of the tiny gems in this wonderfully understated little movie, which uses time, as opposed to geography, to act as the barrier keeping the couple apart. The script even holds a hint of mystery/sci-fi to hold the interest of those who may not usually be inclined to sit through a "chick flick."
A stroll through these quiet elements may not encourage many teens to race over to The Lake House, which is unfortunate because this rare love story focuses on the emotional qualities of a relationship as opposed to the physical. Other than an implied live-in relationship involving an unmarried couple and a few kisses, there is no sexual content in this film. Innuendo is absent as well, and language is limited to a handful of mild profanities, a scatological expletive and a few terms of deity. We do witness some moments of trauma at the hospital where Dr. Forster works and a pedestrian roadway accident (a body lying on a street is briefly shown), but none of these events include blood or are explicit in any detail. There are however, frequent scenes involving social drinking of alcohol in bars and at homes.
As we observe Kate and Alex getting to know each by sharing their deepest feelings about love, work, and life, the film reminds the viewer of the lost art of taking the time to know and understand another individual. Besides this valuable message, there's a good chance you'll also leave the theater recognizing how the seemingly smallest actions may instead be the most profound turning points. With these attributes, this subtly-crafted PG-rated title is one both parents and teens can enjoy.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Lake House.
You may want to try writing a “time warp” letter. Pretend you are writing to yourself at a point in time in the past. What advice and warnings about upcoming events would you provide? Now, try the opposite. Write yourself a letter for a future date, and then put it in an envelope and tuck it away until the time indicated on the letter.