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The Lake House

September 8, 2015

TLHWhen Dr Kate Forrester leaves a note in the mailbox for the next tenant of the Lake House, it’s collected by Alex Wyler, an architect who moved in two years previously. The house was built by Alex’s father, a famous architect who allowed his work to come before his family, with destructive results.

Alex and Kate begin to write to each other, leaving letters in the Lake House’s mailbox for the other to collect. They discover that while Kate has just moved out of the Lake House and is living in 2006, Alex is living in the same house in 2004. As their relationship develops, they both find ways of changing the past or influencing the future for each other’s benefit. However when they arrange to meet in 2006 and Alex doesn’t show up, Kate decides their relationship has only been a fantasy and asks Alex to stop writing.

Only later does she discover why he never arrived – Alex is the man who had been knocked down and killed crossing the road in front of her on Valentines Day 2006, just before she began writing to him in 2004. She writes one last note, urging him to wait, so they can be together in the future.

The basis of attraction – Alex and Kate’s relationship is central to the film, and it grows through their correspondence although they don’t see each other.

Family relationships – Alex returns after four years away. He blames his father’s obsession with work for his mother’s death. While his problems with his father are obviously unresolved, when his father has a heart attack, Alex rushes to the hospital.

Influencing the past – Several times during the story, Kate or Alex try to change the course of events to make a difference for the other: for example, Kate in 2006 says she wishes there was a tree outside her window, so Alex in 2004 plants one which magically appears in front of Kate. We don’t have this luxury – the challenge for us is to make the most of each day as it happens.

Waiting – Alex and Kate’s relationship is played out in two different times. They want to meet up – but are they prepared to wait for the right time? In today’s instant culture, waiting is increasingly hard to do – and even counter-cultural.

Kate and Alex meet in 2004 but Kate doesn’t know who Alex is. They discuss Kate’s favourite book – Persuasion by Jane Austen.

Kate and Alex slowly realise they are in different time zones, with the mailbox and Jack the dog as the only connections to each other. Their relationship and love for each other grows as they correspond.

Alex and his father have a difficult relationship – earlier in the film Alex says he went away to “forget, and forgive” but was unable to do either. However, when his father has a heart attack Alex rushes to the hospital, and in a letter to Kate, explains some of his feelings about his father.

Kate (in 2006) tries to comfort to Alex on his father’s death in 2004, by giving him a book of his father’s memoirs from 2006. It tells Alex that his father really did love him.

Waiting isn’t always a good thing however. Earlier in the film, a young girl tells Kate that her mother says “there’s always something better around the corner.” Through waiting, the mother misses out on what she could have now.

Western perspectives on faith often focus on our individual experiences. Il Mare, the film on which The Lake House was based, was made in Korea. Eastern culture, like the one in which the book of Hebrews was written, is often concerned with the greater good of the community over the needs of the individual.

[from trailer] Alex: This house is about connections.

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