The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Netflix’s latest addition to its ever-growing catalog of movies includes “Look Both Ways,” a romantic comedy-drama based on the life of Natalie Bennett (Lili Reinhart). Natalie is a senior student who finds herself in a life-changing situation after meeting her friend Gabe (Danny Ramirez) during their last week of college. When she starts throwing up during a night out with friends, panic sets in when she realizes she may be pregnant. Her best friend Cara (Aisha Dee) buys her some pregnancy tests and sits with her waiting for the results. When the climactic moment finally arrives, however, the unthinkable happens: reality splits in two.
The camera pans to reveal a negative pregnancy test and Natalie sighs in relief. She spends the rest of the night dancing and partying with her friends, relieved that the illness she faced was due to bad gas station sushi. Natalie graduates from college, says goodbye to Gabe, and leaves for Los Angeles, California with Cara as they begin their new lives. Natalie struggles to find a job at first, but eventually discovers that her idol, Lucy Galloway (Nia Long), is hiring a new assistant. Lucy is huge in the animation industry, and Natalie knows this would be the perfect next step for her. So although she’s a bit underqualified, she applies. After hearing nothing, Natalie finds out that Lucy is having a party and decides to go. There, she meets a man named Jake (David Corenswet), who helps her sneak into the party. Natalie realizes that Lucy is not there and she returns home a little dejected. During her interview, Jake approaches her and it is revealed that he works for Lucy. He gives Natalie some last minute advice and she has a successful interview. Over time, Jake and Natalie grow closer and eventually fall in love. Jake manages to get a job as a movie producer, and he and Natalie become a long distance couple, then they break up. Natalie goes home for a while, then she makes an animated series that ends up being shown at a festival. Jake comes to see her work and the couple get back together. During the festival, Natalie sees Gabe’s band perform. She and Cara decide to stop by and see him perform, and the pair reunite. They talk for a while as Natalie confides that the day before they graduated from college, she took a pregnancy test. The two wish each other luck in life as Gabe is married with a baby on the way, and they say goodbye. Natalie decides to stop by the fraternity where she took that pregnancy test all those years ago. As she enters the bathroom, she remembers looking in the mirror and saying “I’m fine”, before leaving the room where her life almost changed.
The clock rolls back as the camera reveals a positive pregnancy test. Natalie begins to panic realizing that her whole life is changing. She decides to tell Gabe at the party and brings him to a quiet bridge so they can talk. Obviously shocked, Gabe still assures Natalie that having the baby is her choice and that he will support her no matter what. The two return to Natalie’s family home and begin to prepare for their baby’s arrival. They keep a romantic distance and decide it will be better to be co-parenting. As the film progresses, audiences watch as the two (obviously in love) put their feelings at bay for their daughter’s sake. Eventually, Gabe starts dating again after encouragement from Natalie, and he eventually gets engaged. Mirroring the first timeline, Natalie takes a trip to Los Angeles to visit Cara and ends up running into Jake, though nothing comes of their encounter. Eventually, Natalie creates an animation inspired by a bedtime story/joke between Gabe and her. It airs at the same festival as the animation in the alternate timeline, and Gabe’s band plays there as well. Gabe reveals that he and his fiancé broke up because he loved Natalie, and the two kissed. Natalie ends up visiting the same fraternity where she learned of her pregnancy, looks in the mirror, and makes sure everything is fine.
The intertwining storylines were really well done, and they made me think a lot about my life and my relationships. Things can really change in moments. Whether it’s a pregnancy test or passing a class, seemingly small events can change the course of your life without you realizing it. For me, one of those moments happened recently. Deciding to share a room with one of my best friends from high school as a freshman in college was something I pondered for a long time. We had been close for so long, it made sense. So when I announced my plans to my friends and some opposing people, I was really confused. Why was it important that I knew my roommate?
For me personally, that seemed like the biggest plus. I’ve spent years struggling with anxiety, and my roommate knows and understands that. I thought that would be a bonus. After I moved in, I started worrying about maybe being limited to only my roommate. I didn’t really make friends the first days of school and only hung out with people I had known since high school. I was starting to think that because I was sharing a room with someone I knew, I couldn’t branch out at all. And that made me think: what if? What if I had shared a room with a complete stranger? What if I made a whole new group of friends and college was a whole new experience? It’s too late now. I have an established group of friends, old and new, and I’m okay with that. My roommate and I are adapting, together and separately. I know I would live a whole different life in college if I shared a room with someone new. But honestly, I’m okay with the way things turned out. This is where I’m supposed to be, and that’s fine.
Watching “Look Both Ways” opened my eyes to finally understand Why I was so upset. What is not taken on the road? You will never really know. You can try as hard as you want to figure out what could have been, but in the end you’ve made your way and you have to walk it. Deciding on a college roommate might not be as big a deal as an unplanned pregnancy, but both carry it what if factor. Natalie’s life changed for the better in both timelines she encountered in the film. While we as the audience might prefer one over the other, they both got the character where she needed to go with the circumstances she faced. Things didn’t exactly go the way Natalie wanted in either scenario. She faced setbacks for her job and with her career in one, and faced romantic and professional setbacks in the other. Being able to accept that things don’t always go to plan is one of the most important things you can do. You will have regrets. You will have and if. You will have missed opportunities and missed moments, and that’s okay. Because you are going still end up where you were meant to be.