The Lake House (2006)
Receiver of Awesome Postal Service
|Distinguishing Feature:||He writes one hell of a letter.|
|What He Taught Us:||Keanuspawn will never escape the spectre of speeding buses.|
Alejandro Agresti, director
He's trying to go beyond things that his father has predetermined for him, in life and in his profession.
Alex... he's a good guy, the sort who tend to pop up in romance films. He's kind, caring, understanding and extremely patient, but leads a fairly quiet life.
Yet some of that persona is a facade, a kind of calm, defensive front he presents to the world as he directs his anger inward and keeps it under the surface. He's burdened by the past, tormented by his guilt and resentment around his father: not yet over the anger he felt for him wanting to forget about Alex's mother when she died, selling the lake house to get rid of that reminder of her and move on in an almost cavalier way. Alex didn't want to move on.
He resents the way that people still expect him to be like his famous architect father, pressurising him into a life he doesn't necessarily want. And Alex's way of acting out is to waste that talent he'd inherited - building generic condominiums when he's capable of so much more - to spite him, which succeeds in further widening the gulf between father and son. Their relationship brings out a mean streak in Alex that is otherwise absent in his other relationships, and perhaps in some way he consciously keeps it like that, only wanting to hurt those whom he believes deserve it.
Alex is driven by the need to escape, to get away from all those expectations and obligations and go somewhere where he can be alone and be his own man, and where he could be a better person than the one he is whenever his father is around. He bought over the lake house to reclaim that bit of his past and reconnect with the memory of his mother. "This house is about connections," he tells his brother Henry, and it is: connecting him symbolically to his past and literally to the future, where he finds Kate through their magical time-portal mailbox.
To me, Alex is living someone else's life. He is going through the motions because he hasn't yet found the direction he wants to take. Desperate not to be like the father he both respects and despises, he is resisting the path that his life seems set to follow if he does nothing to change it.
His character seems pretty selfish initially - he manages to totally disregard the obvious infatuation of his office assistant as well as the needs of an ageing father who doesnt know how to change. He also seems oblivious to the pain his brother goes through due to the distance between Alex and his father.
His attraction to Kate comes about due to her unattainability IMO. Alex is a person in longing and being unable to have her fits into his expectation of life, after all - he wants his mother back, as well as the father he thought he had as a boy (which is why the picture in the book is so painful for him - he realises that his father WAS the man he wanted him to be IMO).
The arrival of the dog begins a period of re-awakening for Alex of needs that he has supressed for years as well as the end of a period of mourning - both for his deceased mother and for the father he thought was lost to him.
When I watched The Lake House for the second time, I was more touched by the story between Alex and his father. Alex did not actually want to forgive his father although he said he had tried. He never stopped resenting his father for his ignorance of his beloved mother, especially her death. Although he still respected him and talked to him, the emotional communication was cautiously hidden. His father always loved Alex. Even though a gap was hard to come across, they shared the same strong loving for architecture and the same incredible talent. I even feel the father loved Alex more than Henry because Alex was more like him. But his father was much more aggressive in personality. Career was placed ahead of family in his heart. He did not show emotions easily. Alex knew but refused to accept it.
When the father had a heart attack and stayed in the hospital, he was still passionate about the architecture. When Alex answered the question about lighting and building, he showed obvious appreciation and was very proud. He was excited to talk about his life-long understanding of architecture and nature. At the moment, Alex was willing to look at his father with a different perspective. When he received the book from Kate and saw the old picture of father and son, he finally understood his father and was motivated to grasp a chance for his love with Kate.
Alex is less a three-dimensional character than the ideal lover. He is beautiful, sensitive, talented, smart, sensual, financially secure, and faithful. He falls in love after a series of letters, a single dance and a kiss. He is faithful to the kiss: he waits four years for Kate, and he'd probably wait forever. He has the required prestigious but difficult background, as he's had his Kerouac days and horrific family problems. His dad, however, is a world-famous architect and Alex and his brother eventually move into a posh office in Chicago. A good match for Kate the physician. A good match for anyone.
So...he's pretty, sensitive, talented, and well-to-do and absolutely faithful. What more can any woman want?
Borrowing the words of one Mr.Dean Winchester, Alex is so vanilla that he makes vanilla seem spicy, yet beneath the calm exterior brews an incessant storm that craves to add colour to a life ridden with self contempt, angst, despair, abandonment and nonrecognition ,compounded by familial relationships and need for purpose. Little does he realise that the solution to his life's puzzle and search for meaning lies in his own front yard. A beautiful play on the fluidity of time that makes us want to believe in HEAs, the mandatory finale of all timeless romances.
The perfect gentleman, the eternal lover, the object of probably every woman's dreams, the unattainable Mr.Right searching for whom the sensory cells of every gal's eyes have vanished into oblivion. His complicated paternal relationship culminates in a heart wrenching cry. To any fish that hasn't laid eyes on the scene - that is how Homo sapiens react.