Look Both Ways: People have moments in their lives when they wonder what would have happened if they had chosen differently. This is why there are stories that explore this theme. Netflix’s Both Ways tells the story of Natalie, a young animator. She knows exactly what she wants and how she wants it to unfold. We see her split her life into two parts after an unplanned night out with Gabe. The first part of her story focuses on the negative result, and she can continue her plans. The other timeline shows her journey where the test results are positive. She must let go of all her plans and completely restructure her life to have a child.
“Look Both Ways” opens with a compelling premise. It seems this film will be more severe than you thought for a brief moment. The film explores the dilemma of choice with Natalie facing an unplanned pregnancy that threatens her best-laid plans. It is set in Austin, Texas, America, where Roe Vs Wade was overturned. However, the film chooses an easier path, giving minimal thought to Natalie’s to-be-or-not-to-be-a-mother-yet dilemma. It sticks to a more straightforward message that Billy Joel’s Vienna could enhance.
Wanuri Kahiu directs the film. The film instantly draws attention to the difference between the timelines that flow in and out from each other. At least for the first quarter of the story, Natalie struggles with motherhood. Although being a parent can be tricky, pursuing your dreams in LA is possible. The film does a better job portraying the struggles of the childless Natalie. The parallel story raises some basic questions about the difficulties of being a parent. How are these two 22-year-olds able to take care of their child and themselves while not having any jobs or financial stress? These things create more holes, in reality, eventually becoming severe.
The same goes for ‘Look Both Ways,’ which doesn’t give justice to its supporting cast. Natalie’s love interests are reduced to a mere fling when more depth would have made the story more compelling. We don’t see Gabe’s struggle to be a father at such an early age. It seems that the film is more concerned with Gabe as a man so perfect that it fails to show his actual struggles and flaws. Natalie’s best friend is also an undercooked character. This could have added more depth to the story, but it just falls into the “what-if” category of possibilities.
Natalie’s central conflict is intense initially but fades towards the end. This doesn’t make the message as powerful as it could. Lili Reinhart does an excellent job of balancing her characters’ parallel lives. She brings gravity to scenes that depict Natalie’s failures, frustrations, and acceptance of her fate. The film’s look is balanced with warm tones in LA and blue for Natalie’s home town. The hairstyle and dressing sense make the difference. This allows the stories to flow together, giving the audience an overall picture of Natalie’s progress from that moment at the crossroads on that fateful night at the graduation party.
Your heart is at the right place to ‘Look Both Ways. It’s a good watch that gives you a feeling of well-being in a friendly way. This might help to soften your view towards the “everything works in the end” belief but not totally. It could have been so much more. It could have gone in other directions and become something else. All of this gives the film more context. You could think of a thousand things that could go wrong, and your life will still take its path, undoing all your best-laid plans. Even if you have to be a little more careful, “Look Both Ways” will show another path that can prove just as fair.