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Look Both Ways (2006)

tomatometer

75

Average Rating: 6.5/10
Reviews Counted: 57
Fresh: 43 | Rotten: 14

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.

72

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 25
Fresh: 18 | Rotten: 7

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.

audience

75

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 6,319

My Rating

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

PG-13,

Drama, Comedy

Sarah Watt

Dec 5, 2006

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All Critics (61) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (43) | Rotten (14) | DVD (5)

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.

August 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

July 21, 2006 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop 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.

July 14, 2006 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

June 16, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

June 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film itself is beautifully done.

May 16, 2006 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop 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)

an impressive, intelligent and moving tragicomedy of manners - any way you look at it.

June 19, 2007 Full Review Source: musicOMH.com
musicOMH.com

Not a feel-good flick, yet likely to strike a chord with those inclined to contemplate life as a pessimistic venture guided by the unpredictable vagaries of the fickle finger of fate.

June 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Upstage Magazine
Upstage Magazine

A multi-faceted, sparkling gem of a movie.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Most films about shell-shocked characters coming to grips with their own mortality are either excruciating or forcefully comical. Not so with this mini-masterpiece.

September 13, 2006 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

A dreamy but tough ensemble indie that delivers its existential angst with a straight-up Aussie drawl.

August 25, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A thoroughly engaging, warm-hearted and frequently moving drama that marks Watt out as a talent to watch and deserves to find as big an audience as possible.

August 24, 2006 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

Lapses in judgement occasionally jar -- like the habit of playing middle of the road ballads over key scenes -- but the central romance is touching enough to lock us in while bringing out the moral of this story.

August 22, 2006 Full Review Source: BBC.com
BBC.com

It has a cold, observer's touch that makes dealing with the death and disease a disdainful task.

July 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

It's the type of film in which a character sits next to his work acquaintance for a few moments, then asks, 'Do you believe in God?'

July 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Although none of Watt's characters is granted the full attention of the film, they feel entirely real in their flaws, dreams and struggles with the grown-up world of pain, loss and isolation.

July 7, 2006 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

Watt stirs the ingredients in her story pot with vigor, sprinkling in rich dialogue and effortless tonal shifts that tend to add just the right shade of humor to lighten the dark material.

July 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

Some modest charms and a few unexpected emotional punches.

July 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Only an Australian could make such a warm, gentle comedy about how death is all around us.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Sarah Watt's unexpectedly hopeful tribute to the fragility of human life and the feelings of helplessness...

June 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Has a shambling charm that overcomes a tendency to narrative cuteness and fragmentation.

June 11, 2006 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

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.
March 28, 2012
Harlequin68
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.
August 15, 2009
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.

Fantastic.
April 1, 2007
danieljparsons

Super Reviewer

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