How a Pregnancy Test Can Change a Life

A look into “Look Both Ways”


Credit: Netflix

Annabelle Mackey, Staff Writer

“Look Both Ways” proved to be a smash hit this past August, reaching Netflix’s Top 10 for 18 days. Filmed in both Texas and California, the production occurred between June and August 2021, directed by Wanuri Kahiu and filmed by April Prosser. 

The romantic dramedy follows Natalie, a motivated and recent college graduate from U.T. Austin, who has dreams of moving to L.A. and pursuing a career as an animator. When she takes a pregnancy test the night of her college graduation, Natalie’s life — quite literally splits into two different realities depending on the results of the test. In the life she has with a negative test, Natalie pursues her dreams and moves to Los Angeles with her best friend, Cara (starred by Aisha Dee), while juggling love and work at her nearly-perfect job as an assistant to Natalie’s idol, Lucy Galloway (performed by Nia Long). The retelling of the story depicts Natalie’s life pregnant and unaccomplished. With this polar opposite fate for Natalie, we see her remain in Austin, forcing her to move in with her parents who are reluctant to invite her back home. In this variation, rather than living a happy life, we see her feeling miserable and disappointed for the hiatus in her career. Hesitant to find love and express vulnerability, we see Natalie push Gabe (Danny Ramirez), the father of her daughter, Rosie, away.

The two stories contrast the night and day of Natalie’s life. In Natalie’s life in Los Angeles, we see a bright and happy side of her, where she has a passion for love and her career. We see this emphasized in the color schemes of her L.A. scenes, where bright reds and pinks become a common theme. On the other hand, with the aesthetic of blue, cool colors, Natalie’s life as a mother lacks excitement and intimacy. Viewers can observe the gloominess and loneliness as a common motif. 

Overall, “Look Both Ways” is an excellent and beautifully written film. The parallel realities style is a form that has become common in the film industry in recent years, however the plot of “Look Both Ways” is one that has not been portrayed in the genre. While the motion picture is relatable, there were many themes that weren’t addressed. For example, Cara was a very lovable character throughout the story. It would be amazing to see more character development in Cara’s life as well as Natalie’s. Additionally, it is observed that both stories are centered around a woman’s love struggles. We see Natalie develop into a strong, independent woman who does not need to depend on a man in order to be successful. However, Natalie’s decisions continue to be influenced by the men in her life. If the storyline broke the accepted idea of women in the media needing a “happily ever after,” “Look Both Ways” would achieve true excellence. In the end, “Look Both Ways” conveys the idea that “everything happens for a reason,” and no matter the twists and turns life takes, one can still achieve their dreams with persistence. This film gets four stars.