What if I told you one of the best Keanu Reeves sci-fi movies isn’t The Matrix? (And for you hipsters: No, I’m not talking about Johnny Mnemonic either.) I’m talking about a 2006 romantic drama about a scenic lake house that possesses otherworldly power. Though its key, time-displacing concepts are built on a foundation of mud, it’s the sheer, transcendent power of love that lets the movie stand tall nearly 15 years later.
The Lake House, the first and only Hollywood movie from Argentine director Alejandro Agresti is the sci-fi film you need to watch before it leaves Netflix on August 31.
Set in 2006, lonely doctor Kate (Sandra Bullock) moves out of a rented scenic lake house in Wisconsin to return to Chicago. Her courtesy letter to the next tenant, left in the mailbox, winds up in the hands of its new resident, architect-turned-construction worker Alex (Reeves) — but two years earlier, in 2004. Instead of figuring out how their mailbox has become a freak time machine or what temporal boundary they’ve crossed into, Kate and Alex instead pursue a most unusual long-distance correspondence that buds into romance.
While Agresti never directed another Hollywood movie after The Lake House (his 2013 picture No somos animales with John Cusack remains unreleased), the film is penned by Pulitzer-winner David Auburn. For better and worse, this movie shows itself to be the work of a playwright, most obvious when Bullock and Reeves orate their letters in cumbersome dialogue.
“You never told me how beautiful you are,” Alex tells her. “Maybe you saw someone else,” Kate insists. “Long brown hair. Gentle, unguarded eyes…” Oh jeez. Even Bullock’s Kate interrupts him.