The Lake House is a 2006 American romantic drama directed by Alejandro Agresti and starring Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock andChristopher Plummer. It was written by David Auburn. The film is a remake of the South Korean motion picture Il Mare (2000). The story centers on an architect living in 2004 and a doctor living in 2006. The two meet via letters left in a mailbox at the lake house they have both lived in at separate points in time; they carry on correspondence over two years, remaining separated by their original difference of two years. For Alex the time goes from 2004 to 2006. For Kate the time goes from 2006 to 2008.

This film reunites Reeves and Bullock for the first time since they co-starred in Speed in 1994.

Directed by Alejandro Agresti
Produced by Doug Davison
Roy Lee
Screenplay by David Auburn
Based on Il Mare 
by Kim Eun-jeong
Kim Mi-yeong
Starring Keanu Reeves
Sandra Bullock
Dylan Walsh
Shohreh Aghdashloo
Christopher Plummer
Music by Rachel Portman
Cinematography Alar Kivilo
Edited by Alejandro Brodersohn
Lynzee Klingman
Village Roadshow Pictures
Vertigo Entertainment
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s)
  • June 16, 2006
Running time 105 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million
Box office $114,830,111


In 2006, Dr. Kate Forster is leaving a lake house that she has been renting in suburban Wisconsin to move to Chicago. Kate leaves a note in the mailbox for the next tenant to forward her letters should some slip through the system, further adding that the paint-embedded pawprints on the walkway leading into the house were already there when she arrived.

Two years earlier in 2004, Alex Wyler, an architect, arrives at the lake house and finds Kate’s letter in the mailbox. The house is neglected, with no sign of paw prints anywhere. During the house’s restoration, a dog runs through Alex’s paint and leaves fresh paw prints right where Kate said they would be. Baffled, Alex writes back, asking how Kate knew about the paw prints since the house was unoccupied until he arrived. On Valentine’s Day 2006, Kate witnesses a traffic accident near Daley Plaza and frantically tries to save the male victim who dies in her arms. She impulsively drives back to the lake house, finds Alex’s letter and writes back.

Both Alex and Kate continue passing messages to each other via the mailbox, and each watches its flag go up and down as the message leaves and the reply arrives as they wait at the mailbox. They cautiously look around each time the flag changes, hoping to somehow spot the other. It is in vain as they are alone at the mailbox. They then discover that they are living exactly two years apart. Their correspondence takes them through several events, including Alex finding a book, Persuasion, at a train station where Kate said she had lost it, and Alex taking Kate on a walking tour of his favorite places in Chicago via an annotated map that he leaves in the mailbox. Alex and Kate eventually meet at a party, but he doesn’t mention their letter relationship to her as for her, it hasn’t happened yet.

As Alex and Kate continue to write each other, they decide to try to meet again. Alex makes a reservation at the Il Mare (Italian for “The Sea”) restaurant (whose name is an homage to the original Korean motion picture) for around March 2007 — two years in Alex’s future, but only a day away for Kate. Kate goes to the restaurant but Alex fails to show. Heartbroken, Kate asks Alex not to write her again, recounting the accident a year before. Both Alex and Kate leave the lake house, continuing on with their separate lives.

On Valentine’s Day 2006 for Alex, Valentine’s Day 2008 for Kate, Alex returns to the lake house after something about the day triggers a memory. Meanwhile, Kate goes to an architect to review renovation plans for a house she wants to buy. A drawing of the lake house on the conference room wall catches her attention and upon asking, Henry Wyler informs her the artist was his brother, Alex, the man with whom she had been corresponding with. She also learns that Alex was killed in a traffic accident exactly two years ago to the day and realizes why he never showed up for their date – he was the man who died in Daley Plaza.

Rushing to the lake house, Kate frantically writes a letter telling Alex she loves him, but begs him not to try to find her if he loves her back. Wait two years, she says, and come to the lake house instead. Meanwhile Alex has gone to Daley Plaza to find Kate.

At the lake house, Kate drops to her knees sobbing, fearing that she had arrived too late to stop Alex. After a long pause, the mailbox flag finally lowers; Alex has picked up her note. Not long afterwards, a familiar mint-green truck pulls up. She walks forward smiling as the driver, clad in jeans and a familiar tan jacket, approaches. She and Alex share the first of many kisses and then walk toward the lake house.


The Lake House: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released in 2006.

  1. “This Never Happened Before” – Paul McCartney
  2. “(I Can’t Seem To) Make You Mine” – The Clientele
  3. “Time Has Told Me” – Nick Drake
  4. “Ant Farm” – Eels
  5. “It’s Too Late” – Carole King
  6. “The Lakehouse” – Rachel Portman
  7. “Pawprints” – Rachel Portman
  8. “Tough Week” – Rachel Portman
  9. “Mailbox” – Rachel Portman
  10. “Sunsets” – Rachel Portman
  11. “Alex’s Father” – Rachel Portman
  12. “Il Mare” – Rachel Portman
  13. “Tell Me More” – Rachel Portman
  14. “She’s Gone” – Rachel Portman
  15. “Wait For Me” – Rachel Portman
  16. “You Waited” – Rachel Portman
  17. “I Waited” – Rachel Portman

Songs appearing in the film, but not on the soundtrack include:

  • “I Wish You Love” – Rosemary Clooney
  • “There Will Never Be Another You” – Rosemary Clooney
  • “Pink Moon” – Nick Drake
  • “La noyée” – Carla Bruni
  • “Sentimental Tattoo” – Jukebox Junkies
  • “Chiamami Adesso” – Paolo Conte
  • “When It Rains” – Brad Mehldau
  • “Young at Heart” – Brad Mehldau
  • “Almost Like Being In Love” – Gerry Mulligan
  • “O Pato” – Stan Getz
  • “A Man and A Woman” – Sir Julian
  • “Bitter” – Meshell Ndegeocello

The film trailer also features the song “Somewhere Only We Know” by the band Keane. It is available on the album Hopes and Fears.