Plot: What’s it about?
Sara (Scottie Thomson) and Lily (Madeline Zima) might be sisters, but they don’t have a lot in common and lead very different lives. After all, Lily is an art teacher at a small school and remains close to home, while Sara is a powerful lawyer who ventured to Los Angeles. However when their father (Jeff Fahey) passes away suddenly, the two sisters are drawn back home and have to work together to settle the state. The sisters spend a lot of time with their mother Vivian (Jane Seymour) during this time, but there is an unease, since the bond of family hasn’t been strong in a while. As time passes however, the three begin to forge a new bond and become closer than ever before. It would seem even the spirit of the deceased father is present, pushing them toward a new start as a loving family. Even in this tragic situation, love has started to reconnect these estranged family members, but can they learn what family really means and hold onto it?
This movie had a limited theatrical run, but is best known for being shown on the Hallmark Movie Channel. As you’d expect from a film broadcast on that network, Lake Effects is sweet and inoffensive. The plot is basic and predictable, but thanks to a terrific cast, the material is elevated. Jane Seymour is quite good, but the movie belongs to Madeline Zima and Scottie Thomson as the estranged sisters. The two have a good presence together and really bring the roles to life well. And that is important, since without chemistry between them, Lake Effects would be dead in the water. The cast also includes Jeff Fahey, Casper Van Dien, Sean Patrick Flanery, Ben Savage, and Richard Moll, so quite a solid ensemble. While it is a little overly sweet at times and has a story we’ve seen countless times before, Lake Effects is still an enjoyable movie. The cast is terrific and if you’re after family friendly entertainment, Lake Effects is worth a look.
Video: How does it look?
Lake Effects is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a solid overall transfer. I wasn’t floored by the level of detail, but depth is good for a DVD. I found colors to be warm and natural, which suits the film’s visual design well, while contrast is stark and refined. I couldn’t detect any digital errors of any kind either, which is good news. So in the end, Lake Effects looks quite good in this presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
This Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack sounds good, but not all that memorable. Which is fine since the movie is low key audio wise and doesn’t need dynamic presence. The music is able to come through the surrounds well, but otherwise the front channels tend to handle the sound design. The main element is dialogue, which sounds clear and free from errors. So not a soundtrack to test your home theater with, but it handles the movie’s needs well enough. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes a behind the scenes featurette, as well as some deleted scenes.