Look Both Ways, Explained

Have you ever thought what has been the most important moment of your life, that definitive moment in which you were never again the person you used to be? Was it a breakup, a graduation, a job, a move, buying a house, a trip? Which was? And have you ever thought what would have happened to you, if at that moment you had made a totally different decision?

For Natalie Bennett (Lili Reinhart) the answer to those questions has always been clear: the most important moment of her life was the night of her college graduation, the same night she took a pregnancy test, and for the rest of the film we see what would have happened to her, both in the event that it would have come out positive, and in the event that it would have come out negative.

1 ^ Is Natalie imagining everything? Which story is real in Look Both Ways?

The theory that some seem to be spinning regarding Look Both Ways is that everything happens in Natalie’s head during the two minutes of waiting to verify the result of her pregnancy test, two eternal minutes in which that Natalie imagines her life if the test comes out positive, and at the same time if it comes out negative. And that – in the end – we will never know the answer.

But Natalie isn’t imagining everything. Both stories are real, it is just they take place in parallel universes where the result of the pregnancy test was different.

2 ^ What is the message of the film Look Both Ways?

Some of the criticism I have read about this film, insist this is an anti-feminist film, or even worse, plainly misogynistic cinema, because in one of the stories it shows us Natalie sacrificing her planned life and her dreams, for a pregnancy that is clearly not desired, when – in the opinion of these articles – it was much easier to have an abortion.

But the message of the film goes much further than that. In the film we see Natalie in two opposite situations, in the first she abandons her roots to pursue a dream, and in the second she is tied by circumstances to those roots. In both circumstances, Natalie understood that the best version of herself is not the one fighting for her dreams putting her past self aside, or the one who put all his dreams aside, just to punish herself for not being careful enough.

The Natalie who never got pregnant, had to go back to her parents, see Gabe again and understand what would have happened to her if the test had come out positive, to find herself. The Natalie who became pregnant and had a daughter, had to learn again to fight for her dreams, and to take advantage of her experience as her mother make them strong.

The message of this film is that, no matter how hard and complicated the experiences we go through, we can always learn from them to achieve our dreams, as long as we do not lose our essence and remember at all times what we wanted them for.

3 ^ What does the end of My Two Lives mean?

In this Multiverse, we see that both versions (variants?) of Natalie find happiness when they manage to balance their experiences with their dreams, thus achieving, each in their own way what she had always longed for.

The scene in the bathroom, 4 years after the pregnancy test, in which the Natalies look in the mirror and tell themselves that they are going to be okay, is simply an exercise they do to be at peace with the path that they never took. The Natalie who went to Los Angeles, and who regretted having cut everything, for a frustrating life in which she was finally left with nothing, made peace with the possibility of staying there, perhaps fighting for her dreams without giving priority to others. The Natalie who became a mother, and who regretted not having made a decision that would allow her to continue with her life, finally made peace with that life that she could not have, but thanks to her talent, she may have another chance.

It all comes down to when we stop regretting the decisions we make and that we did not make, out of fear, or on a whim or immaturity, they still are part of our personal growth and in the end those are the experiences that make us the complex and vibrant human being that we are today.

Questions? Annotations? More doubts? The comments section is open just below this post so feel free to use it. See you in the next installment of Ending Explained here at El Sabanero X.

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