So, last night I went to see The Lakehouse
Now the first thing I'll say about this movie is, if you have friends who have problems with lateral thinking or suspending belief, even for a couple of hours, do not take them with you! But then that's the thing I always loved about going to the movies from a very early age - the escapism, the fact that you could allow your imagination to run free and escape from all the hum-drum ordinary things that we fill so much of our days with. And I guess that's probably where my journey to becoming a writer came from...
I'm not a movie critic. I hate the word critic as it happens. Maybe simply because in my mind it's a shortened version of the word critic-al and so many people out there can take that word as an open invitation to pan something for no other reason than it makes them feel superior, and I'm just not into that. I like what I like and hate what I hate and by no means do I express my opinion as a way to run others down. I'm just a tiny speck on the face of the planet realistically... with a blog... And I still live my life by the 'do unto others' adage in fear of saying something that may one day come back to bite me on the ass. I believe in karma!
So, anyway, I knew when I went to see this film that I was going to see a love story. An occupational hazard probably; I just can't resist a story that brings two tiny specks together on this big old planet of ours. But what struck me on a personal level as I watched this story unfold on the big screen in front of me, was that I watch them with a much more examining eye than I did even ten years ago. Is that an age thing, I wondered? Or is it simply that I spend so much of my life now creating love stories that I can't watch one without noticing all the little things that make up the bigger story?
What struck me in this one wasn't just the originality of the storyline - two people who 'make contact' through the link of living in the same house by a lake but then find they are experiencing it with a two year time difference - but it was the threads interwoven through it. It's something I'm more and more conscious of doing with each book. On purpose? Who the heck knows?? But in this film I could spot them. Loneliness is a key theme, as is the relationships with the main characters and their parents; Keanu Reeve's character Alex with his Father in particular. There is a theme of missed opportunities, of taking chances and seeing what happens even when it goes against what our 'sensible minds' tells us can't be happening. There's the theme of 'making do' with what we have rather than waiting for a magical something we might never find (one I know only too well let me tell you!!!) and there's the glimpses of what we may lose along the way. Add to that the fact that I could see how these two successful actors
portrayed their differing emotions through such simple things as hand movements and glances and I may as well have been sat at the keyboard trying to put together scenes of a book.
Which led me to think on the way home if becoming a writer has ruined me for watching films in the same way that, for a while, working in the music industry ruined my sheer joy factor listening to music? And after much thought, I think the answer is no.
Because while I continue to grow as a writer, I'm becoming more aware. I can look up at that big screen now, and while I watch the story unfold, I can better appreciate the work of others. The little things that make up the whole. I can appreciate an innovative plot, the way it was shot in such a way that the people looked real rather than touched up, cleverly lit fantasies of normal living, breathing people. The way that a look or a touch or a hand movement in the right place can convey as much as words do. It's all the little things that we try to convey on paper when we write a book. We might not realize we're doing it - and I have to say if I thought about it that hard I'd probably lose the ability to just tell the story - but it's all there nevertheless. And I can see that now. People may critique the shorter contemporary romance all they like, but if readers can lose themselves in the story, will the characters to a happy ending, and get the same enjoyment for a few hours as they would watching a film then the author has done their job. It would be all I'd ever need to hear in praise!!!
So, for me, this was a very lovely film. Yes, you do have to suspend some belief, but then that never stopped generations from enjoying The Wizard Of Oz! And yes, the timeline will have those friends of yours with lateral thinking issues debating outside the cinema as to what year the film actually finished in! And yes, some people will say that Keanu Reeves comes across as a little wooden in places, but it never stops millions of readers enjoying an inscrutable hero who simmers beneath the surface. (I disagree on the wooden part just so you know). But all in all if you want a love story, you want something nicely paced and sweet at it's origin with a storyline that has you praying there is a happy ending then I think you'll enjoy The Lakehouse as much as I did. It's one I will certainly buy on DVD and one that I'll most definately be nominating for The Pink Heart Society's Hall Of Fame.
All in all it reminded me why I do what I do and that I love what I do. It reminded me to keep believing in love even while I'm happy being single. What can I say, I'm obviously a romantic. So just go ahead and shoot me, 'cos I ain't changing...