Netflix’s Look Both Ways is a romantic comedy film that was released in 2022, and was directed by Wanuri Kahiu. The film follows the story of Natalie (Lili Reinhart) who dreams of joining the animation industry and even created a five-year plan to make her dream come true. What she doesn’t expect is the possibility of her becoming pregnant which would change everything in her life. During her senior year at college, she hooks up with her friend Gabe (Danny Ramirez) who dreams of becoming a famous musician.
Things take a turn for the unexpected when Natalie suspects that she is pregnant and her best friend Cara (Aisha Dee) buys her pregnancy tests. While we see Natalie staring at the results of the tests, her life gets divided into two different realities where we see what would happen if she was pregnant and on the other hand, what would happen if she wasn’t pregnant.
Look Both Ways is a film that tackles the idea of what-ifs and how one could regret their decisions. It discusses the ideas of regret and anxiety along with how different our lives could be if we made a certain choice. With the two different realities in the film, here is Netflix’s Look Both Ways ending explained.
Natalie Decides to Stay in Austin, Texas
When Look Both Ways gets divided into two realities we see how one of these realities is based on Natalie being pregnant. In this reality, she decides to stay in her hometown, and she tells Gabe about her pregnancy and he supports any decision she plans on making. Luckily for her, her parents decided to support her even if they were shocked at first.
While all this support is supposed to be a good thing, Natalie’s life in this reality is far from perfect. Her decision to keep the baby will affect her entire life and also pause her five-year plan. She shows how affected and sad she is when she talks to Cara since her best friend is living her life as she planned, and she is taking the road they both planned to take together.
This change in Natalie’s life begins to affect everything as we see how Gabe tries to propose to her, but she tells him that he doesn’t have to do that. Her parents may have judged Gabe at first because he is a musician but he still planned to be there for Natalie and the baby who turns out to be a girl, and they named her Rosie.
Natalie’s life after pregnancy is still not stable especially since she suffers from post-partum depression. This part of the plot in Look Both Ways shined light on such a serious issue that could happen to any woman whether she was still young or old.
We see how Natalie is completely changed as she suffers from depression and it doesn’t help that she keeps seeing pictures of Cara living their dream. She loves her daughter, but she still thinks about what could have happened if she hadn’t been pregnant. Look Both Ways shows us how Natalie questions her identity because things didn’t go according to plan. She was supposed to be a famous animator, but she isn’t sure anymore if she will become that.
Natalie Following Her Dream
The other reality in Look Both Ways focuses on how Natalie’s life could have turned out to be if she wasn’t pregnant. In this reality, Natalie goes with Cara to L.A. as she plans to continue following her plan while Gabe starts chasing his dream of becoming a famous musician. She is excited and happy about what the future holds for her, and for a moment the audience might think that everything in this reality would be easier for Natalie since this is what she planned for. This is proved to be far from reality as we quickly discover that even though this is the life Natalie planned for, things don’t go her way.
She does go to L.A. to join the animation industry, but she quickly finds out that most internships are unpaid. When she finds out that her favorite animator Lucy Galloway is looking for an assistant, she applies despite not meeting the qualifications. For a moment one would think that this would be the beginning of Natalie’s dream and even Cara thinks it was a sign that Lucy started looking for an assistant when they came to town. Natalie does get the job, but it sets her back rather than move her closer to her dream. She also gets to know Jake (David Corenswet) who is her love interest in this reality.
Love Isn’t In the Air
In the first reality, we find out that Natalie has developed feelings for Gabe, but she isn’t sure about telling him. A golden opportunity to take things further presents itself when Gabe moves out and gets his own place. He asks Natalie to move in with him along with Rosie, but shockingly, she refuses despite the feelings she has for him.
Now Natalie has given up the chance to be with the man she likes for different reasons. She tells Gabe that she fears that they will break up and in return, this would affect Rosie plus the fact that they are different from each other. However, she comes clean to Cara and tells her she rejected Gabe because she was scared.
Although she encourages Gabe to start dating, we see how devastated she is when he gets engaged to his girlfriend Miranda. Look Both Ways showed us how even sad moments can be a blessing for us if we were to use them correctly which is exactly what Natalie does. She decides to use her heartbreak as an encouragement to go and chase her dream once again. Along with the heartbreak, she is inspired by Rosie’s sleeping patterns and she creates a comic strip called “Night Owl.”
When her comic goes viral and is met with huge success, Natalie realizes that she shouldn’t have doubted herself or her talents. At this moment, Look Both Ways reminds us again that even if things don’t go according to plan, we can still follow our dreams. The comic gave Natalie the chance to sit at a panel at SXSW, which she could have never expected to become true.
There Is No Easy Road
In the other reality, Lucy tells Natalie that maybe she should leave the job as it would prevent her from finding her artistic voice. It doesn’t help that Jake moved away in order to produce a documentary. In this reality in Look Both Ways, Natalie doesn’t have her dream job and her dream doesn’t seem to be getting any closer. She becomes depressed as she also decides to end things with Jake because she won’t be able to stay in a long-distance relationship.
While this moment is heartbreaking to Natalie, it also proves that sometimes life won’t turn out to be perfect even if we were following a plan. Life is spontaneous and anything can happen whether you are going according to a plan or not. However, everything happens for a reason.
This moment in Natalie’s life encourages her to follow her dream of becoming an animator, and she even produces a short-animated film which she submits to SXSW. The film is accepted at the festival, and we see how Natalie shares the news with Jack despite their breakup which shows how important he is to her. We also see that Gabe made his dream become true in this reality as he went on tour with his band.
Love Could Still Happen
In the first reality, we see Natalie learning that Gabe broke up with his girlfriend. Now with her newfound confidence, she decides to tell him the truth about her feelings. At that moment in Look Both Ways, Natalie realizes that she should experience life as it happens rather than try to control it.
She tells Gabe that she is in love with him, and we can finally see that she isn’t afraid of giving their relationship a chance. The character development of Natalie in this reality is clear as she lets go of the fear that has been holding her down and decides to live rather than simply exist.
In the other reality, Natalie’s decision to share the news of her animated film pays off as Jake leaves the filming of his documentary to be with her and witness her success. They get back together and the good news doesn’t stop here as Lucy, Natalie’s old boss, invites Natalie to come to the office, so they can discuss her future projects.
This reality is supposed to be the one where things go according to Natalie’s plan, but they don’t. She learns here that she can’t control everything in life and that plans could be easily broken. According to Look Both Ways, the important thing is that we should always remember who we are whether our plans come true or not.
The Ending of Look Both Ways Explained
At the end of Look Both Ways, we see Natalie from the two realities we follow throughout the movie. Both of them participated in the festival and then went to visit their old sorority house. They stand in front of the mirror in the bathroom, which is the same place Natalie stood when she had the pregnancy tests in her hands.
Looking at their reflections, each one of them says, “You’re okay,” before leaving the bathroom. We then see Natalie again at the beginning of the movie when she has the pregnancy tests in her hands and is waiting to see the results.
While each one would have a favorite reality that Natalie lived, both of them are possible and also true. There is no right or wrong between the two realities and this is what the film is about. Look Both Ways teaches us that anything could happen in life whether we have a plan or not and things could be different than what we expected.
The thing is that we shouldn’t let any obstacle or change stop us from following our dreams because our dreams and hopes are things within us that shouldn’t disappear at the first setback. In the film, ant of the two realities could have happened and in the end, both of them would have made Natalie follow her dream. We can adapt to changes and still be ourselves and this is what matters.