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(Real-Life Reader Biography)
"The Lake House"
For me, the value of this film is not in anything spiritual, not from a great love for science fiction, and not because I like romances. The fact is, it could be said I generally hate 'em. For me, it's in the casting.
First, these two together (Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves) work on a level of credibility rather than this year's idea of chemistry. Secondly, and more importantly, Bullock returns to a style that is very much her piece of meat, the sort of role that takes advantage of every pore of personality, vibrancy and down-to-earth freshness in her body. Here she is again, the girl of "Speed" and "Miss Congeniality (1)". after trips into various commercial absurdities. It's so delightful, I'd forgive her (and the picture) any stray or strain.
But, I didn't find it that much of a stretch. I knew the creative geniuses behind it wrote themselves into a corner (Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Auburn), if logic and lack of cleverness have anything to do with it. So, I was prepared to just go along just to be in the company. I wasn't disappointed.
The premise that has the critics in so much of a dither is the idea that two people can commune across a time and space differential, in this case a gap of two years. I'll say this for it: it provides a way to keep two people apart who you want together, and that feeling can be held to an excruciating degree. Well, it's that tension that love stories feed on, isn't it? So, the premise is the device. I can live with that.
From here, it doesn't seem important to fill in the details. The time zone mechanism for the communication is the mail box at the beautiful house on the lake that his (Reeves') father designed and built for his mother and which she lived in for a time. Think of this mail box as a futuristic iPod, a wireless connection to the Philip K. Dick/Isaac Asimov zone.
One note leads to another as the two discover their unusual connection and the feeling that they'd be meant for each other if time weren't a factor. Who can blame them for attempting to meet the challenge? That part's okay. I mean, after all, if you're in the middle of a miracle why not expect another?
Reeves is my idea of a great romantic figure, imparting as much presence and magnetism and everyman's angst to keep you lingering in his part of the dugout. He's actually improved on the acting side, so the appeal is even easier to respond to.
Bullock shows us that the kind of girl you'd want to marry has not been spoiled by success, attention, adoration, you name it. I love Sandra Bullock and always will. That's it. Film good enough. Considered as a vehicle for what I was looking for, a success. As a critic, some things you forgive.
The Soundtrack Album