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Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Lake House (Guest review by Reecey).

Quick update: Reecey has put a supplementary piece for this review up on her own blog, so go check that out.

The Lake House.
(Guest review by Reecey.)

Since I’m still not comfortable posting what was supposed to be last week’s review, I’m going to review the 2006 film The Lake House.

(I was going to put it up next week, but I have an election special planned, so it’s going up on the fifteenth. God willing.)

Now, quick backstory, The Lake House is a remake of the 2000 Korean film Il Mare or Siworae? I’m not sure, wikipedia is kind of unclear on this. Have some Hangul to be sure: 시월애.

I’ve not personally seen Il Mare (which is Italian for ‘the sea’), but I have read the wikipedia plot synopsis, and frankly, The Lake House seems like the better film.

This is largely because, from what I’ve read, Kate seems like a far more likable character than Eun-joo. For starters, she never asks Alex to prevent her fiance from leaving the country for her.

So, you know, that’s a thing.

The film begins with Kate (Sandra Bullock) moving out of the lake house, which is gorgeous, by the way, and Alex (Keanu Reeves) moves in.

Look at it. Here's a post someone wrote about it.

The reason Kate moves out is because she’s finished her residency and has a new job in Chicago working as a doctor. We even see her first day.

This leads into a moment I really like, where Kate’s new boss, Anna, demands to know why a patient is where she left him and not getting a vital MRI scan. Once told that transport will take four hours, she says ‘he could be dead in four hours’ right in front of him and the poor, poor man crosses himself.

It’s just a little thing, but I love that sort of thing.

She’s my favourite character, by the way. Beautiful, nice voice with an appealing accent, caring in a slightly harsh way and has great presence.

At first it seems like Alex moved into the house after Kate, but it quickly becomes clear that it’s the other way around.

For example, she apologises for things in the house that were there when she moved in, like paint paw prints on the path, that either aren’t there when Alex moves in or he sees being made.

She also states her address is in a block of flats that don’t exist when he and his brother go there.

It doesn’t take them too long to work out what’s going on and that the mailbox outside the house is their method of communication.

Also, there’s a dog who clearly has a paw in all of this. He kind of falls out of the film around two thirds through, which is weird, because he’s clearly quite important to this burgeoning relationship.

Not to mention that we see him run off from Alex, presumably to prepare for his magical realism work with Kate, but we don’t see him part ways with her. He just ceases to exist.

It’s weird.

Cute dog, though.

It’s kind of hard to believe that two people can fall in love via letters, but, unlike You’ve Got Mail, this one is far more believable. I think part of it is that they share a dog, share a location, have things in common other than one of them destroying the other’s life and they actually leave an impact on each other.

For example, he plants a tree for her, she sends him a book at one point, and they act as emotional support for each other. He also organises a walking tour of Chicago and they do it in tandem two years apart. Their interactions with the city create what’s almost a date.

Another thing that makes their relationship more believable is that they have lives outside of each other. Kate has a past relationship that we see both in action and the aftermath of, Alex spends time with his brother and interacts with his father Captain von Trapp, Kate spends time with her mother and coworkers, Alex goes to work...

Oh yeah, let me have a quick word about that.

See, Alex is an architect, but unlike most movie and tv architects, it impacts his life outside of him being a creative sort with money.

He actually works on a building site for a lot of the movie, his father and brothers are architects, his dad built the lake house, he renovates the house himself and Kate and her ex live in one of the houses he builds.

See, impact! Relevance! Things that don’t happen in How I Met Your Mother!

Oh, and remember how I mentioned Kate’s past relationship? Well, that doesn’t work out largely because, well, her boyfriend kind of oversteps the mark.

He’s not a bad person, far from it, he’s a nice man in a normal human way. It’s just that he’s always wanted them to settle down and get married from the very outset, and there are all these little things about their relationship that don’t really work out.

He’s just not Mr Right like Alex. He’s more… Mr. Totally Adequate and a Pretty Good Choice.

Hell, there’s this scene where he’s presented as more observant and thoughtful than Alex with a female friend of Alex’s. These two men are both good romantic partners, just to different people.

(I was kind of half hoping he’d get with the friend of Alex’s. Maybe he could post plot!)

Another part of the film I like is how Alex and Kate sort of mirror each other. They’ve both been heavily impacted by their fathers and have or had close relationships with their mothers.

Their fathers are both associated with books, his with one about him and hers with one he gifted her.

It’s one of those things they have in common.

Of course, there is the point where they need to overcome some sort of misunderstanding, but I’m not going to get into that here. Why? Well, suffice to say that it isn’t some small, throwaway thing. It’s actually pretty important.

In the end, I do have to recommend this film, even if I don’t recommend thinking too much about the time travel implications of it. Just assume the dog is spelled backwards and accept it.

I do have one lingering question though.

How do these people get normal post?

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