Australian Council on Children and the Media

Lake House, The

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Theme)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Lake House, The
  • a review of Lake House, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 1 August 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to themes.
Children aged 8-13 Parental guidance recommended.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Lake House, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes, Mild coarse language
Length 98 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

When lonely Dr. Kate Forester (Sandra Bullock) leaves a lake house she had rented in order to move to Chicago a brief note she leaves in the mailbox sparks a strange correspondence between the past and the future.

While Kate lives in the year 2006, her correspondent, architect Alex Wyler (Keanu Reeves) lives in 2004 and through some mysterious force the mailbox at the lake house becomes a gateway through time allowing them to communicate. At first neither can believe what is happening and both are completely confused but slowly a friendship forms and love begins to grow. They both become obsessed with trying to find a way to meet. Alex’s attempts to track Kate down enable him to see and meet her but she is unaware of who he is. After a  disappointing attempt to meet Alex, Kate decides to give up and get on with her life.

In the process of embracing her future Kate makes a discovery that brings all of the pieces together, and demonstrates the importance of faith and patience, giving them a second chance not only at love but also at life.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Death and grief

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

A man is hit by a bus and killed. Despite Kate’s attempts to save him, he dies in her arms.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scene, the death of Alex’s father and Alex’s grief could disturb children under the age of five. Although the death isn’t shown, the intensity and depth of Alex’s grief reaction could disturb young children, including preschoolers.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the scene described above.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Some older children could still be disturbed by Alex’s father’s death and Alex’s grief.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Some older children could still be disturbed by Alex’s father’s death and Alex’s grief.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Jane Austin’s book Persuasion was used throughout the movie to link the gap between the past and future.
  • Alex drives a blue Chevrolet truck.

 

Sexual references

None of concern.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is no sexual activity, but in one scene Kate wears a very low cut and revealing top.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Kate is seen drinking alone at a bar and later celebrating with a number of friends in a pub where everyone was drinking
  • wine is offered on a number of occasions throughout the film

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • shit
  • bullshit

 

In a nutshell

The Lake House is a slow-paced, predictable, romantic drama that will appeal to those liking old-fashioned romantic films. Adolescents viewing this film may be confused by the constant swapping back and forth between past, present and future.

The main messages from this movie are that it pays to be patient, for what may at one time appear to be impossible can, at another, become reality.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • patience
  • determination
  • faith

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as acting hastily actions and being impatient.

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