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For those who last watched Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock in the thriller “Speed,” re-imagining their relationship at a much slower pace and across different times in “The Lake House” might be challenging at first, but it’s worth the effort.

The film, which centers around a breathtaking lake house designed by Alex Wyler’s (played by Keanu Reeves) father, is at once occupied by Alex, a young architect, and Kate Forster (played by Sandra Bullock), a young doctor–only they exist simultaneously in different years. Through a series of letters left in the mailbox, Alex and Kate discover what seems like the impossible: They are communicating across time, Alex still living in the year 2004 and Kate living in our time, the year 2006. As they puzzle over this mystery, their letters become quite humorous at points and poignant in others, giving new meaning to the idea behind “Instant Messaging.”

Though much of the plot is easily guessed from early on, the romance that emerges between Alex and Kate is quite palpable;this despite the fact that, for almost the entirety of the film, each is unavailable to the other–except through their letters. Film reviewers Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat express the allure of “The Lake House” beautifully:

It is waiting that holds the key to everything that matters in this love story. Kate’s favorite novel is “Persuasion” by Jane Austen, and it celebrates this virtue. Carlo Carretto, one of the great spiritual writers of our time, once spent a number of years living by himself as a hermit, praying in the Sahara desert. When someone asked him what he thought he heard God saying to him in all that silence and after all that prayer, Carretto replied: “God is telling us: learn to wait–wait–wait for your God, wait for love, be patient with everything. Everything that is worthwhile must be waited for!

The film itself moves at a slow pace–yet not slow in the way that it drags. Instead, it progresses calmly, the characters taking their time as they take in each other and their odd situation, and contemplate whether or not a love for them in real-time will ever be possible.

Anyone who has ever waited for love will understand the slowness and mystery behind this odd love affair, and anyone who believes in waiting for love will find “The Lake House” an encouraging film to watch.

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