discussion, movies/tv, review

Movie Review: Look Both Ways (2022)

On the eve of her college graduation, Natalie’s life diverges into two parallel realities: one in which she becomes pregnant and must navigate motherhood in her Texas hometown, the other in which she moves to Los Angeles to pursue her career.


Look Both Ways (2022) is a Netflix original movie released on August 17th, 2022.

The general premise of the movie is similar to the 90’s film Sliding Doors, where we are shown two diverging outcomes of our protagonist’s life starting from one decision. In this movie, protagonist Natalie takes a pregnancy test after a one-night stand with a close friend. In one timeline, the test comes back negative and life continues as she has planned, watching her continue her five-year plan to move to LA and become an animator. In the other timeline, the test is positive, and she moves back home to her parents along with the father-of-the-baby to figure out her new five year plan. The movie continues to cut between both timelines, using the five-year plan Natalie lays out in the introduction of the film as a roadmap, showing the major ups and downs of both life paths five-years down the line from graduating college and suspecting her pregnancy. The movie plays out fairly typically – you know where its going, as LA-Natalie finds a guy she likes and gets her job, and pregnancy-Natalie plays out the typical romcom will-they won’t-they with the father of her child. Natalie as a character is pretty bland, with little to distinguish the two iterations of her character personality-wise. Its over all pretty enjoyable, but the film shies away from any hard questions about the nature of planning ahead, the difficulties and joys of either of Natalie’s paths, or many of the ways those around her are impacted by her choices. The movie also hands waves any discussion of Natalie keeping her pregnancy in the relevant timeline – this is clearly for plot purposes, but the lack of mention of her giving real thought into the choice while having dad Gabe say the pretty cringe-inducing line “I’m pro-your-choice” stands out in todays climate.

Still, I was generally entertained by the movie for its runtime, and really enjoyed some of the cinematography in how the split timeline comparisons were shown. While the pacing felt off for parts of the runtime, I’d say its worth a watch if you’re bored and enjoy romcoms.

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