The Lake House

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
The Lake House Movie Poster Image
Corny romance will bore kids.
  • PG
  • 2006
  • 888 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 17 reviews

A lot or a little?

Parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Characters in love are loyal, characters looking for love sometimes hurt others, and a father-son relationship is tense (mutual anger).

Violence

A bus hits a car and leaves a pedestrian dead; when Kate tries to help, she's sad when the victim dies.

Sex

"Long-distance" romance is mostly chaste (they live two years apart), but grants them two passionate kisses; Kate wears a nightie that shows cleavage.

Language

Several uses of "hell," one each of s-word, "For Christ's sake," "godamnit."

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

Characters drink wine and beer a couple of times, liquor and champagne in social/party settings.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the movie includes some sad spots where the wannabe romantic partners can't meet for years, only exchange letters. A young man fights with his father, then the father dies, which makes the son cry. A bus accident kills a pedestrian (you hear crash and see prone body afterwards) and upsets a female doctor who's on the scene. Characters drink in bars and at parties. A woman kisses a man who's not her fiancé, who's upset when he catches them.

User Reviews

Adult Written bywubbo April 9, 2008

Surprisingly Tame

While this movie does drag a bit and will bore the younger set, my 11-YO daughter found the concept of "love across time" to be quite interesting. Of...
Parent of a 7 and 10 year old Written bylightandlife November 20, 2009
Teen, 16 years old Written bymoviegirl April 9, 2008

I looooooooved this movie!

It was really good and there wasn't aanything bad in it. I don't know why someone put yellow for sexual content, cause there wasn't any.
Teen, 16 years old Written byOwlCityFan October 25, 2011

Fantastic Movie!!! younger kids may not get the complex story

This is a fantastic love story! The time element to it adds depth to the story and makes it worthwhile and interesting. I think Alex is a good role model becaus...

What's the story?

At the start of this romance film, Kate (Sandra Bullock) and Alex (Keanu Reeves) exchange letters via a magic mailbox at the titular Chicago area lake house. He has just moved into the house, and she has just moved out. The rub is, he's living in 2004 and she's in 2006. As Kate and Alex fall in love, they also realize they are living in different years. They accept this oddity and begin to plot ways to find one another across time. When Alex tracks Kate down in 2004, before she knows he exists, Kate is engaged to an over-controlling man and wishing she knew someone more like Alex. Kate tells him she loves Jane Austen's Persuasion (a book about waiting), they look deeply into one another's eyes and share a camera-swirling kiss. And then: pffft. Though he knows who she is, Alex doesn't pursue Kate, leaving her to be unhappily engaged, as he is unhappy with himself. Here the structure of the film changes from their pensive voice-over letter writing into conversation as they go about their separate, split-screened lives.

Is it any good?

Evocative and sometimes lovely, THE LAKE HOUSE is all about waiting. While this refers to the central couple, it also affects viewers, who must wait for alternately obvious and illogical plot points to be resolved. Occasionally rewarding, this slow movement is sometimes annoying, and the switch from letter-writing-voice-over to conversation-and-split-screen is simply awkward.

Perhaps most disappointing is the movie's feeble use of the wondrous Shohreh Aghdashloo (X-Men:The Last Stand) as Anna, Kate's supervisor. When Anna observes that this mystery man "must write one hell of a letter" to warrant so much mooning, the movie briefly exposes its sense of humor. But his letters ("I'll find a way to be close to you, to take care of you") sound more like a Lifetime movie than Jane Austen.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the idea of falling in love through letters (or online!): what sorts of things do you learn about someone else through writing that you often don't learn face to face? What traits make Kate and Alex appealing to one another, even though they haven't seen each other? How can waiting and patience make relationships, whether romantic or familial, seem more worthwhile?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate