Look Both Ways (2006)



Critic Consensus: With animated sequences adding imaginative quirkiness to the mix, this movie about death and disaster is insightful, empathic, and more uplifting than one would think.

Movie Info

Preoccupation with disasters and a growing sense of mortality threaten to derail the growing relationship between the witness of a train accident and the reporter sent to interview her in this daring drama from emerging Australian filmmaker Sarah Watt. As the weekend draws near, three troubled souls find themselves faced with pivotal, potentially life-changing events. Though the death of her father still looms heavily in her mind, Meryl (Justine Clark) is forced to cut short her bereavement in … More

Rating: PG-13 (for some violent images, sexual content and thematic material)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Sarah Watt
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 5, 2006
Kino International - Official Site


as Train Driver

as Policewoman

as SBS Newsreader

as Current Affairs Repo...

as Policewoman

as Train Driver's Wife

as Current Affairs Repo...

as Train Driver's Son

as Jasmine, 'Jas'

as Phil's Toddler

as Boy In Wheelchair

as Smoking Cricketer

as Cricket Captain

as Pregnant Mother

as Scared Mother

as Charge Nurse

as Father of Sick Child

as Dinner Guest

as Dinner Guest

as Dinner Guest

as Teenager

as Milk Bar Man
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Look Both Ways

All Critics (61) | Top Critics (25)

While [director Sarah] Watt begins to offer an interesting study in paranoia, tinged with some good comic moments, her multi-stranded plot and last-minute recourse to romance ultimately lost the interest of this viewer.

Full Review… | August 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A black-humored screenplay, realistic performances, eye-catching artwork, and a few creative turns on some well-worn themes.

Full Review… | July 21, 2006
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Filled with aloof and confused characters just treading water, and even if they are likable, it eventually becomes tiresome. It's like one big pity party.

Full Review… | July 14, 2006
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

How each person copes with trauma and renewal adds up to a tender tale rich in memorable performances.

Full Review… | June 16, 2006
Seattle Times
Top Critic

The bottom line is that none of this goes anywhere beyond a droning funeral procession.

Full Review… | June 9, 2006
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

A remarkably dense and powerful picture of people's yearning and struggling. . . . about how 'things just happen'%u2014that's the sadness and beauty of life.

August 20, 2007
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

Audience Reviews for Look Both Ways

On the way home from her father's funeral, Meryl(Justine Clarke), an artst, imagines many scenes of catastrophe before witnessing a man being hit by a train, chasing after his dog. Covering the story for the local newspaper is Nick(William McInnes), a photographer, who has just been diagnosed with testicular cancer. Regardless, Andy(Anthony Hayes), a graduate of the Oliver Stone School of Journalism, complains to his editor, Phil(Andrew S. Gilbert), about the photo that is used with his story. In any case, Andy has more important things to worry about like his girlfriend Anna(Lisa Flanagan) being pregnant.

I'll give "Look Both Ways" this much. It sure is different with occasional animated interludes but the shark in the pool is a little too obvious. Plus, I admire its willingness to tackle difficult subjects. Sadly, it never quite comes together as it goes from one extreme to another. And the movie also has an alarming lack of focus on characters who even when dealing with extremely important crises somehow also seem very self-involved at the same time, especially Meryl whose moroseness is inferred might originate more from her loneliness than anything else. Or maybe commuter trains in Australia have a very poor safety record, as there are many shots of people walking calmly along train tracks.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

A deeply affecting film from first time Australian director Sarah Watt, who also wrote the screen play and did some of the animation. It is about death, and family, and career, and loneliness, and loving, and friendship. In short, it is about life. Terrific actors, a dynamite script, and characters one can identify with brought the story to life for this viewer. Justine Clark as Meryl, a struggling artist, and William McInness as Nick, a photojournalist who has just received devestating news, bear special mention. I watched it twice and found it just as deeply moving both times. Hard to believe this was a first time effort.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

NICK: Do you think you're getting over the shock?

MERYL: The dad shock or the accident shock? Do you think you can have two at once? Maybe I'm into 'bargaining' on one of them. Y'know, the seven stages of grief. What's the point in knowing where you're up to when you've still got to go through it anyway?

This is one of those clever-clever films that feature an ensemble cast of characters who are all linked together in someway without knowing how, in the style of Heights and Crash. Unlike the latter, however, I never felt like I was being continually hit over the head with a stick or that coincidences and links became too contrived or over calculating.

Look Both Ways is a film that everyone who has ever thought about or dealt with mortality or grief can relate to. Meryl, whose father has recently died, imagines her death everywhere she goes - train crashes, drownings, STDs. Nick, who has just discovered he has testicular cancer that has spread to his lungs, is on the verge of complete breakdown. Their paths cross at the scene of a train accident, and an unexpected connection is made.

If the film sounds depressing, then it is at times, but it is also very thoughtful, funny, observant and beautiful. The acting is first rate (Justine Clarke is particularly brilliant) and the direction is very inventive - Meryl and Nick's thoughts are shown as animation or sped up photo montages and it's a very effective way of showing what they are thinking. The use of songs rather than a music score was also a good decision.

Finally, there's another link between two characters that I had almost forgotten about that provide a nice and poignant twist, and the ending is done just right.


Daniel Parsons

Super Reviewer

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