The 2022 Netflix film ‘Look Both Ways’ starring Lili Reinhart is about how a young woman’s life turns out in two different scenarios, one where she gets pregnant while finishing college, the other where she doesn’t and goes on to live out her career plans in Los Angeles. Both the director (Wanuri Kahiu) and writer (April Prosser) of this film are women, and yet they don’t give their protagonist a concrete choice. For wouldn’t it have been more thought provoking to have her pregnant in both scenarios and then choose to have a baby in one but get an abortion in the other? Guess they didn’t want to stir up a debate.
Reinhart plays art graduate Natalie, who dreams of becoming an animator in the big city and has been working hard towards her goals. She has a five year plan for everything, with little space for family or romance. Regardless, in the pregnant scenario, she moves back with her folks, gets a job as a barista and tries to raise the baby with her close friend Gabe (Danny Ramirez). Luke Wilson and Andrea Savage play Natalie’s parents, who aren’t enthused about their daughter throwing away her career plans, yet support her with the child. Guess that sums up parenting – you might be unhappy with your children’s choices, but you support them anyway.
‘Look Both Ways’ plays too safe, is generic and neither gets you laughing much as a comedy, nor teary eyed with its bland drama. Since two possible stories unfold simultaneously, Lili Reinhart gets to romance two different men and her chemistry with both is lukewarm. It’s nice that her character is career-driven, and there’s a small ‘Devil Wears Prada’ sub-plot going on with her first boss in scenario B, but nothing exciting or witty enough.
The first half makes you assume the makers are going to probably tilt in the favor of one situation over the other, however, in either case, Natalie has different sets of challenges and things end with a ‘either way, it isn’t too bad’. It was a surprisingly balanced ‘feel-good’ climax and both Natalies walk away happy.
It’s a 5/10 from me.
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