It’s only natural to ask ourselves what could have been in our lives. Look Both Ways offers a fascinating character study of a woman whose life could have gone one of two ways. The science may be iffy, but the story is an interesting one. Viewers are invited to follow Natalie (Lili Reinhart) as her life could have played out in two very different ways. With a world full of properties exploring the concept of the multiverse, Look Both Ways is a surprisingly down-to-Earth take.
Look Both Ways is really anchored in Lili Reinhart’s performance. She makes Natalie sympathetic in every reality even when she’s imperfect. Her story may be simple enough, but its an effective way to prompt reflection on the crossroads that are part of life’s course. Natalie’s evolution in both realities is an inspiring one. No matter which path we see her on, it’s clear that her strength of character allows her to remain true to herself in both realities. Reinhart makes us cheer for Natalie, even if we have our own opinions about which road she should have taken.
This movie has a modern feminist commentary which makes the story even more effective. Natalie is never shamed in either reality even though we all may have different opinions about the choices she makes. She’s allowed to make mistakes, change her mind, and disappoint people she loves. It’s what we all deserve as human beings. It’s important that Natalie’s family is so supportive of her, because it shows her potential when she’s fully supported. As an aside, Luke Wilson can always be our dad.
Natalie’s romantic relationships are intriguing. While Jake (David Corenswet) and Gabe (Danny Ramirez) can’t hold a candle to Natalie, she chooses them, in a different timeline. These romantic relationships provide a venue to further deepen Natalie’s character, and explore her choices. It’s an interesting thought experiment, to ask oneself what makes romantic relationships last. Is it proximity? A baby? True love? Some kind of combination of the above? While the movie doesn’t provide definitive answers, it allows viewers to take this journey.
Natalie’s friendships are just as, if not more compelling than the romantic ones. Natalie’s relationship with Cara (Aisha Dee) is particularly poignant. It’s a sad reality that a family and children so often spell the end of too many strong necessary female friendships. It’s a heartbreaking truth that we don’t talk enough about as a society. The way the movie handles this situation is so sensitive, and refrains from shaming anyone involved for the loss of this relationship. If anything, the story is presented as a reminder that mothers need so much more support than what society gives them.
At the end of both of these paths, Natalie is shown as a person whose choices have led her to live her best life. The movie maintains its commitment to not judging either path. Each reality is equally rewarding and challenging. Both are presented as equally fulfilling options, career and romantic choices included. Presenting both life paths as equally viable options is encouraging to anyone who may find themselves in a similar situation. In both realities, watching Natalie eventually make herself a priority in spite of the adversities she faces is aspirational.
Look Both Ways is an enjoyable story involving a thought experiment that can be applied to any of our lives. We will all eventually reach a moment in our lives where we will be at a crossroads. Natalie’s is an inspiring story. Ultimately, this story is a reminder that no matter what circumstances we are faced with in life, we all have our own choices. We can choose what is most important to us in life. Natalie is all of us, as we continually face multiple realities of what our lives could be.
Look Both Ways is available to stream on Netflix.