Directed by: Wanuri Kahiu
Distributed by: Netflix
Written by Maria Athayde
In the sea of romantic comedies that Netflix pumps out weekly, which you can see ranked here, “Look Both Ways” actually managed to stand out. I am normally for predictability and happily ever afters, but it is refreshing to get something different once in a while. Through its clever use of parallel dimensions Kahiu’s “Look Both Ways” basically means that you are getting two romances for the price of one and while the end product tends to be a little corny you can’t help but be charmed by these characters, especially Danny Ramirez’s turn as Gabe.
“Look Both Ways,” tells the story of UT-Austin college senior, and soon-to-be graduate, Natalie (Lili Reinhart). Natalie and her best friend Cara (Aisha Dee, a personal favorite of mine since her days on “The Bold Type”) have big plans to move to Los Angeles after college to start their careers in the entertainment industry. One fateful night Natalie hooks up with her friend Gabe (Danny Ramirez), they promise each other that sex won’t get between them. However, Natalie ends up pregnant and this is where our story begins. We get to see Natalie’s life unfold across two different realities.
In one reality, Natalie ends up pregnant, moves back in with her parents Tina (Andrea Savage) and Rick (Luke Wilson), and struggles to co-parent her daughter with Gabe. In our other reality, Natalie and Cara successfully move to L.A. Natalie works at an animation company with her idol Lucy Galloway (Nia Long) and starts a relationship with Jake (David Corenswet) who works at the same company. From this point on, we see events unfold across both timelines over the years. This movie is a story of what could have been, depending on the reality Natalie chose. I got to admit I was a bit disappointed since both realities led us to the same conclusion in the end. The big lesson present in this movie was that no matter what path your life takes on everything is going to be alright.
As mentioned in the introduction the end product of “Look Both Ways” was a little corny. The concept of exploring how your life might end up depending on your romantic partners is interesting to me. This movie had this idea on lock, but it was the other dynamics surrounding our two realities were a bit lacking. It would have been great to explore more of Natalie’s friendship with Cara, her family life, her friendship with Gabe pre-hookup deserved a bit more attention, and even her passion for animation and career could have been more at forefront of this movie. My biggest issue with the movie even though these two realities take place over several years there was no strong visual or tonal shift to identify these differences. Having a stronger visual but especially stronger tonal queue to market the passage of time would have made this more engaging. With these caveats aside “Look Both Ways” is still definitely worth a watch and it definitely brought me some happiness knowing that with each new release Lili Reinhart is one step closer to leaving “Riverdale” for good.
“Look Both Ways” Trailer