Time travel is a tricky thing to play with when it comes to narratives. There are always unknown consequences to groups of people when time is changed – I believe the TV series Supernatural addresses it extremely well with the number of consequential deaths that must occur to set the timeline straight.
Unfortunately, some movies, shows and narratives in general just don’t do things extremely well. For this review, I’m going to tear apart The Lake House, which stars Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock.
I will give the film credit – it’s a cute romantic story, and the concept was actually not too bad. It was really well done in the beginning, introducing the characters, setting up the plot, it just all came back to bite it in the butt at the ending.
For one, why did the mailbox have the ability to send these messages forward and back in time to these two different people? The whole movie is based off two people with years between them (literally, they live years apart) but the mailbox allows them to communicate in ‘real’ time. How, and why, this mailbox has this ability is unbelievable. There is no clear reason why this happens, and no, you cannot use ‘the power of love’ as an excuse.
Secondly, and this is a big one because I literally got in an argument with my mum about it, the ending shouldn’t have happened HOW IT DID. Our lovely lady finds out the only reason why she never ended up meeting our mans is because he’d passed away years ago, told to her by his brother who is a famous architect. To prevent his death, she runs to the mailbox to warn him of what has happened, so in the end they can be together, which we see happen because he emerges from the trees to say hello.
Now. Here is where I get mad. If she had prevented his death, why on earth does she have the memories of the brother saying he was dead? Those memories should have dissipated because they would never have happened if he did not die in the first place. Also, if he did not die, he would’ve been able to go to one of their earlier arranged dates – so why didn’t he? Why didn’t her memories change, her situation change, her life change so they meet earlier and be happier together at a much sooner date? Like god damn, so many plot holes and questions.
And you know what? I haven’t even finished there. Our mans found our girl when she was younger, met her, and kissed her even. Why on earth then, does he not keep in touch? Why does she not remember his face, especially when they’ve had two encounters before this whole mailing process happened? Their memories should be changing as the movie goes along, they should be treasuring things as their timelines change, yet none of this happens.
I can’t. I hate this movie. Loved it at first, but it’s just narrative suicide to not address every plot hole and every possible line as a consequence of time travel. Learn from this – time travel is very tricky. Popular, yes, but tricky to play with – even Alice in Wonderland addressed that you cannot change what has happened.
If you want a movie that’s easy to watch, but in the end doesn’t make sense, go for this one. There is just so many plot holes that I couldn’t help but ponder over this for weeks angrily.