THE LAKE HOUSE
NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by Aynjleyes who says... "Left me emotionally fulfilled and mentally confused. But it was definitely eye candy."
The movie opens with a very melancholy Dr. Kate Forster and her mutt Jack moving out of the Lake House (gorgeous box of glass on stilts with a tree growing up through the center). On her way to Chicago to a new job, she leaves a note in the mailbox asking the next tenant to a) forward her mail, and b) forgive her for the pawprints on the deck and the box in the attic, cuz they were there when she moved in.
Enter Alex Wiler, melancholy architect in an ancient Chevy truck, moving in to the dilapidated Lake House only to find this note in the mailbox about non-existent pawprints and an equally non-existent box in the attic. So he mails one back to her telling her she must have the wrong house.
On a very warm February 14th, Kate is sitting with her mother in Daily Plaza, talking about her late father and eating lunch. All of the sudden, we see a horrible crash and she runs to the side of a man, face down on the street. We next see her boss find her crying at the hospital. Boss heard about the poor stranger. Kate needs to get away on her days off, a place where she feels her best.
So she heads back for a visit to the Lake House, only to find the note left by Alex telling her she's confused. She mails him back and reminds him that she has the right house but that the date of 2004 in his letter is wrong, it's been 2006 all year. While contemplating this obviously crazy lady, he's fixing up the lake house when a dog comes waltzing up, through his paint... leaving paw prints along the boardwalk. He goes up into the attic, but still no box. Insert confused Keanu look here.
She then mails him a reply and a scarf, saying that if he is truly living in April of 2004, there's a freak snow storm and he'll get sick if he's not prepared. As he sits down to dinner, he grumbles about freak storms while eating his chicken noodle soup, and then.... he sees the snow falling outside. Insert Keanu sneeze here.
He then shows up at an architect's office, where we are introduced to his younger brother, and his obviously estranged father. He takes his little bro out for a drink, and on the way, stops by her new apartment to try and prove to himself that she's wrong... only there's no apartment building. It's being constructed. Little brother rings non-existent door buzzer.
So he goes home and writes her a note saying that she's living in a place that doesn't exist. And there begins the only true comedy in the movie, as the two of them stand, two years apart, in front of the same mailbox watching the flag go up and down all by itself as their messages appear within minutes. "Is this happening?" he writes. "Why not?" she scribbles back on his envelope. "Impossible... Not possible, but it's happening."
And so begins their daily correspondence. He takes her on a tour of Chicago by leaving her a marked map. She follows the tour and finds two year old graffiti on the wall of an alley that says, "Kate, I'm here with you, thank you for letting us spend our Saturday together."
From there, the movie makers decided to have them talk to each other to themselves.... what they like, what they love, are they single.... and they're falling for one another.
Kate decides to take advantage of the time warp, and writes to him that on a certain day, she accidentally left behind a gift from her late father as she raced to catch a train. Can he find it and get it to her? So he heads to the station, sees a couple kissing, and looks up in time to see her jump on the train... without her copy of Jane Austen's Persuasion. He picks it up, tries to run and catch the train... they see each other briefly and he writes to her that he saw her... and he WILL get her the copy of the book, because they WILL be together one day.
We slowly find out that Alex's dad is the architect that designed and built the Lake House, and that it was the last place they knew as a family before his mother got tired of his father and left them, only to die a year or two later. Papa Wiler never went to her funeral, and his sons never forgave him for it.
While writing a letter to him, she decides to tempt fate and tells him to call her that night, right then... and the phone rings. Only it's Morgan, her ex, who's come to town to take her to dinner. He tries to get them into a ritzy restaurant, only to be denied by the snooty maitre d', and as they stand outside talking about the problems in their relationship, he reminds her of the night he caught her "making out" with a total stranger at a party he took her to. She says it was just a kiss.
Alex and the girl from his office who wants him real bad, Mona, are sitting in his truck discussing her boots that she bought just because he told her she needed some, when Jack the dog takes off running. Alex chases the dog and runs into... Morgan, who is bringing in stuff for his girlfriend, Kate the doctor's surprise birthday party. Mona shows up and they get invited, just as Alex is trying to comprehend that he will get to meet Kate in her past.
Flash forward, Kate is talking to her boss at a bar on her birthday and starts discussing her strange long distance relationship with this architect who lived at the lake... and whammo, she remembers the guy at the party. He tried to get her attention. She dissed him in her misery. They talk about a book called Persuasion... She says it's her favorite, all about a couple who keep meeting in the wrong time and place and you never know til the end whether or not it will work out. They agree that it's a terrible premise... then they dance in the dark... and end up in this really sexy kiss that Morgan and Mona walk in on.
At this point, Kate and Alex get into their first fight about "why didn't you say anything"... "I didn't want you to think I was crazy... and you DID have a boyfriend"... "He wasn't my boyfriend, and what about YOUR girlfriend"... "she wasn't my girlfriend"...
Then we find out that Alex's dad has a heart attack... and looking back at the records in the hospital, Kate learns the day that he dies. So she races to the Lake House with a note of condolence and comfort... and a copy of a book of memoirs, yet to be published, written by his father that proved how much he loved his son.
Now, Alex wants to meet for real. So they agree to meet "tomorrow." Her tomorrow, his two years and tomorrow, at the fancy restaurant she couldn't get into before. So he goes the next day and makes a reservation two years in advance. When Kate gets there in her tomorrow, she gets special treatment from the staff... and gets stood up.
So she writes him to tell him he didn't show. Something must have happened. She can't do this anymore. She needs to live in the now. So she stops getting his letters from the box, and asks him not to try and find her.
Time passes... he mourns for her, placing all of her letters and his unanswered ones in a box that he places in the attic... Jack the dog runs away from him one day in the woods... he decides to leave and go stay with his younger brother in the city, to start a new firm called Visionary Vanguard. He leaves the keys to the Lake House with Morgan, telling him that it's what Kate wants. In the city, Alex's brother is talking about his dinner plans with one of the ladies in the office. It's Valentine's Day, 2006. Awful warm though. Insert Keanu hauling butt back to the Lake House to check dates in Kate's letters.
Kate continues to work at the hospital and starts seeing Morgan again when he tells her he accepted a position in Chicago. They find an apartment, it needs a lot of work, and she knows of a new architecture firm that specializes in reconstruction. It's Valentine's Day on the day she and Morgan go to the firm to look at the design, and on the wall, she sees a gorgeous rendering of her Lake House. She asks who did it, the young guy says, "My brother... Alex Wiler. you know him?" She says yes, how can she find him? "He died... two years ago today... tragic accident."
Insert Sandra hauling butt back to the Lake House, ignoring Morgan's shouts of worry. She flings a note into the mailbox and sinks to the ground in tearful almost prayer... "I know why you didn't come. It was you who died in my arms on Valentine's Day 2006... you were coming across the street to me.... don't do it, Alex. Wait two years and come to the Lake House. I'm here. Wait for me."
Gravel crunches as an ancient Chevy pick up truck rolls into view. Two sets of feet walking through the tall grass. Face to face. "You waited for me." Serious snogging... all the way up to the boardwalk as they make their way into the Lake House at sunset.