The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Netflix’s latest addition to their ever-adapting catalog of movies includes “Look Both Ways,” a romantic dramedy that is based around the life of Natalie Bennett (Lili Reinhart). Natalie is a college senior who finds herself in a life-altering situation after hooking up with her friend Gabe (Danny Ramirez) during their final week of college. When she starts to throw up at a frat party, panic sets in as she realizes that she may be pregnant. Her best friend Cara (Aisha Dee) buys her a couple of pregnancy tests and sits with her as they wait for the results. When the pinnacle moment finally comes, however, the unthinkable happens: reality splits into two.
The camera turns 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 sickness she faced was because of some bad gas station sushi. Natalie graduates from college, says goodbye to Gabe and heads off to Los Angeles, California with Cara as they begin their new lives. Natalie has a hard time getting a job at first but eventually finds out her idol, Lucy Galloway (Nia Long), is hiring a new assistant. Lucy is huge in the animation industry, and Natalie knows that this would be the perfect next step for her. So despite being a bit underqualified, she applies. After not hearing anything back, Natalie happens upon a tip that Lucy is throwing a party, and decides to go. While there, she meets a man named Jake (David Corenswet), who helps her sneak into the party. Natalie realizes that Lucy isn’t there, and she goes home feeling a bit defeated. During her interview, Jake approaches her and it is revealed that he works for Lucy. He gives Natalie some last-minute tips, and she has a successful interview. As time goes on, Jake and Natalie grow closer and eventually become romantically involved. Jake successfully manages to get a job producing a movie, and he and Natalie become a long-distance couple–and then they break up. Natalie returns home for a while, and then she makes an animated series that ends up being shown at a festival. Jake comes to see her work, and the pair get back together. While at the festival, Natalie sees Gabe’s band performing. She and Cara decide to stop and see him play, and the pair reunite. They speak for a while as Natalie confides that the night before their college graduation, she took a pregnancy test. The two wish each other good luck in life as Gabe is married with a baby on the way, and they say their goodbyes. Natalie decides to stop back at the frat house where she took that pregnancy test all those years ago. Upon entering the bathroom, she reminisces as she looks in the mirror, saying “you’re okay,” before leaving the room where her life nearly changed.
The clock turns back as the camera reveals a positive pregnancy test. Natalie begins to panic as she realizes that her whole life is changing. She decides to tell Gabe at the party and brings him over 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 the arrival of their baby. They keep a distance romantically and decide that it will be better to co-parent. As the movie progresses, the audience watches the two (obviously in love) put their feelings at bay for the good of their daughter. Eventually, Gabe begins to date again after Natalie’s encouragement, and he ends up engaged. Mirroring the first timeline, Natalie takes a trip to L.A. to visit Cara and ends up bumping into Jake, although nothing comes of their meeting. Eventually, Natalie creates an animation inspired by a bedtime story/inside joke between Gabe and her. It gets shown at the same festival as the animation in the alternate timeline, and Gabe’s band plays there too. Gabe reveals that he and his fiancé broke up because he loved Natalie, and the two kissed. Natalie ends up visiting the same frat house where she got the news of her pregnancy, looks in the mirror and assures herself that everything is okay.
The intertwining plots were really well done, and they made me think a lot about my life and my relationships. Things really can change in a matter of moments. Whether it be a pregnancy test or passing a class, seemingly small events can alter the course of your life without you ever realizing it. For me, one of those moments happened recently. Deciding to room with one of my high school best friends as a freshman in college was something I mulled over for a long time. We had been close for so long, it just made sense. So when I announced my plans to my friends and some people opposed, I was genuinely confused. Why did it matter that I knew my roommate?
For me personally, that seemed like the biggest plus. I have spent years battling anxiety, and my roommate knows and understands. I thought that that would be a bonus. After moving in, I started to worry that maybe I was being limited to only my roommate. I wasn’t really making any friends the first few days of school, and I was only spending time with people I knew from high school. I was starting to think that because I was rooming with someone I knew, I wouldn’t be able to branch out at all. And that got me thinking: what if? What if I had roomed with a complete stranger? What if I had made a whole new group of friends, and college was an entirely new experience? It’s too late now. I have an established group of friends, old and new, and I am okay with it. My roommate and I are adjusting, together and apart. I know that I would be experiencing a whole different life at college if I roomed with someone new. But honestly, I’m okay with the way that things turned out. It’s where I’m supposed to be, and that’s okay.
Watching “Look Both Ways” opened my eyes to finally understand why I was so upset. What is down the road not taken? You’ll never really know. You can try as hard as you want to figure out what could have been, but ultimately you forged your path, and you have to walk on it. Deciding on a college roommate may not be as significant as an unplanned pregnancy, but both carry that what-if factor. Natalie’s life changed for the better in both timelines she encountered in the movie. Although we as an audience may prefer one to the other, they both took the character where she needed to go with the circumstances she was facing. Things didn’t exactly go the way that Natalie wanted them to in either storyline. She faced setbacks getting hired and with her career in one, and faced romantic and career setbacks in the other. Being able to accept that things may not always go according to plan is one of the most important things you can do. You’ll have regrets. You’ll have what ifs. You’ll have missed chances and missed moments, and that’s okay. Because you will always end up where you were supposed to be.