‘Look Both Ways’ brings rare twist to the common rom-com

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Courtesy of TV Insider

TRL’s Eleanor Koehn reviews Netflix’s “Look Both Ways.” The film was released on Aug. 17.

“Look Both Ways,” a Netflix romantic comedy featuring Lili Reinhart and Danny Ramirez, was released on Aug. 17 and is already giving rom-com lovers everywhere a newfound favorite. If you are sick and tired of the same copy-and-paste plot line for Netflix rom-coms, I highly recommend giving “Look Both Ways” a try. 

The story starts at a graduation college party at the University of Texas. The main character, Natalie, sits on the ground, unsure if she is pregnant or not. As she takes a pregnancy test, her life (and the movie) divides into two different narratives, one where she is pregnant and one where she isn’t. In her “false alarm” narrative, she ventures out to Los Angeles determined to begin a career as an animator. In the other, she moves back in with her parents in Austin and lives with her best friend and co-parent, Gabe. 

Throughout the story, the two different plot lines contrast each other in just about every sense. In the L.A. timeline, Natalie struggles with developing her animation into a style that can be successful. Along with that, her boyfriend moves away to Nova Scotia which creates conflict between the two. In the Austin timeline, Natalie becomes a mom and devotes all her time and energy into her daughter, Rosie. She puts her passion for animation, her love life, and her career on hold. 

Besides the interesting divergence of the main character Natalie’s life, there are a few instances in which the movie fails to perform. For one, the producers could have done a better job clearly dividing the two storylines. At the end of the movie, both Natalies end up going to the same South By Southwest film festival in their respective timeline. Obviously, they were both identical and it left me staring at the screen trying to figure out what was going on. Which Natalie was wearing a pink suit and which was wearing the blue? I still haven’t quite figured it out. 

The movie also failed to resolve the conflict between L.A. Natalie and her boyfriend who moved to Nova Scotia. After promptly ignoring her over the phone and a  breakup prompted by Natalie, the couple seems to be over with. Then out of nowhere, he shows up and she forgives him. This was an unsatisfactory resolution and left more questions than answers. But despite these blunders throughout the movie, it still combines elements of real life with valiant rom-com moments. 

Without giving too much away, I can conclude that this movie is a fresh take from most of the stale rom-coms that Netflix produces. Movies like “Sierra Burgess is a Loser,” “Purple Heart” and “Holidate” have become overproduced, and if you are a rom-com expert, you can probably guess what happens in just about any of those. 

I’m not saying that “Look Both Ways” is some sort of exceptional masterpiece that should be put up for an Academy award. It definitely plays into the cheesy, emotional question of “Will they, won’t they” and has pretty clear plot lines with no crazy surprises. And of course, there will always be better rom-coms on Netflix. “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” “When Harry Met Sally” and “Always Be My Maybe” are just a few examples. If you are looking for a new angle on a romantic comedy and a vibrant clothing color scheme, “Look Both Ways” has got you covered.