‘Look Both Ways’ had potential but was poorly executed



By Nina Figurelli, A&E Editor

The decisions we make can change the trajectory of our lives forever; sometimes for the better, and other times for the worse. There is always the question of “What if?” when we are inevitably torn between two paths. “Look Both Ways” follows a college graduate, Natalie Bennett (Lili Reinhart), down two parallel storylines: one where she becomes pregnant, and the other where she pursues her dream in Los Angeles.


After college graduation, Natalie planned on moving to LA with her best friend Cara (Aisha Dee) where she hopes to use her passion for art to become a professional animator. However on the night of her college graduation, she takes a pregnancy test; this is where the two plots diverge. When Natalie sees the results, she is relieved that the test is negative, but the scene suddenly changes and we witness the distressed graduate holding a positive pregnancy test. 


From then on we get to watch the alternate realities play out side by side, with Natalie experiencing both the struggles of being a mother and a “starving artist.”


While the concept of “Look Both Ways” had a lot of potential and a heartwarming message, neither narrative was developed very well. Although idealistic and cliché, the concept that no matter what cards we are dealt, we can still achieve our goals can be very inspiring. Yet this theme was often glossed over, which causes the moral of the story to fade into the background.


The problem with this film is that there are no problems at all. All of the conflicts are solved within a few scenes, and none of these conflicts require the characters to rise to the occasion and solve the issue. In fact, most of the situations are actually resolved by a third party in which the characters don’t need to do anything at all.


Due to the rushed scenes and lack of conflict, there are also many gaps in the storylines and we barely get to see the story and development of the other characters. 


Gabe (Danny Ramirez) and Jake (David Corsenswet) are Natalie’s main love interests, but we barely get any insight on their characters. The climax is anti-climactic, and both Gabe and Jake experience limited growth in their relationships with Natalie. On the other hand, Natalie’s best friend, Cara, has a strong presence in the beginning of the film, but as the plot progresses we lose insight from her perspective too.


The shortcomings of Cara’s character development were a missed opportunity. She is the only character who never receives closure to her issue with Natalie being an absent friend, and doesn’t receive much recognition throughout the movie for being a supportive best friend. 


In addition to the lack of character development, I was often confused which storyline was being portrayed, because there was no clear distinction between the different scenes of Natalie’s different storylines. They tried to use Natalie’s hair to represent her contrasting lives by showing motherhood Natalie with short hair and L.A. Natalie with long hair. However, even that detail is inconsistent throughout the entire film.


Despite the irregularity in the scene distinctions, I did enjoy seeing where the two story paths overlapped as well as the parallels and differences between Natalie’s lives.


This movie could have had a meaningful impact on its viewers, especially since it touches on the serious and relatable topic of unexpected parenthood. But the film never fully takes a deep dive into how Natalie’s transition to being a young mom impacted the dead-end in her artistic career. Instead we mainly see how her love life influences her decisions, which is arguably less inspiring and unoriginal. 


Don’t get me wrong, Lili Reinhart is a fantastic actress and performed well with what she was given, but I hope in the future we’ll get to see her in more serious roles similar to her characters in “Hustlers” and “Chemical Hearts.” This modern take on “Sliding Doors” was underwhelming and most certainly did not allow Reinhart to showcase her strong acting skills.


While the storyline could have been interesting, it was predictable and lacked substance. The main point of conflict in the plot and the character development of Natalie and her friends definitely fell short. 


“Look Both Ways” is not worth watching. From the inconsistent details to the flimsy story, this movie is a phenomenal example of wasted potential of both a compelling concept and a talented actress.