Sarah Watt’s film Look Both Ways illustrates the many paths life can take. Paths such as love, loss, trials, disappointment and even death. The title in itself expresses the diverse perspectives of life and death considered throughout the movie. It explores the different ways that humans grapple with life’s random twists and turns; how they try to make sense of what may seem unintelligible, unfair, overwhelming or chaotic. “What’s the point of knowing where you’re up to when you still have to go through it anyway?”
The way Look Both ways explores life is displayed symbolically in the characters day to day life. For example, the cricket game, which Nick and Andy play, is a game that unfolds slowly, where there is ebb and flow, where fortunes change. Their match is cut short by Nick’s less-than-defensive batting, symbolising Nick’s life and his battle with cancer.
As well as through cricket, Watt uses the train and its tracks as another metaphor for life, it can stay on the tracks or it can derail, causing a person’s life to come crumbling down around them.
A train was what caused Julia’s life to come crumbling down upon her. The train caused the death of her partner and with it, her life. This event displays how quickly a person’s life can get turned upside down, how quickly a path can change. It also shows the different paths a person can choose to take after the incident. Julia chose a path of reconciliation with the train driver. She accepted his apology and even admitted that “it wasn’t your fault”. She chose to move on in life, even though it was extremely painful.
Look Both Ways emphasises the symbolism of water as both giver and destroyer of life. This is particularly evident through the character, Meryl, an artist who mainly paints the sea. Her dark, depressing paintings express her inner fears about her life, about being drowned in her problems.
Andy's pessimistic outlook on life seems to change his personality into a more bitter and angry one, which...