Though it has been drawing comparisons to the 1998 film “Sliding Doors,” Netflix’s new romantic comedy “Look Both Ways” is a welcome departure from typical Hollywood fare. Taking place in two alternate realities, the production tackles the age-old question, “What If?” As college senior Natalie Bennett (Lili Reinhart) asks in the trailer, “What if I’d moved to that city, gone to another school, or considered hooking up with that one friend? Can a single moment change your life?” The film’s answer? Yes . . . and no – and it’s a delightful journey to get there.
The tale begins on the eve of Natalie’s graduation, as she takes a pregnancy test after finding herself nauseous following a random one-night hookup with her good friend Gabe (Danny Ramirez). The results send her into two parallel worlds, one in which she is pregnant and moves back home to live with her parents in Austin, Texas, Gabe right by her side, and the other in which she heads to Los Angeles, single and without child, to pursue her dream of becoming an animator with her best friend, Cara (Aisha Dee).
While most romcoms promote a “one soulmate for everyone” narrative, “Look Both Ways” is a thoroughly fresh take on the genre as Natalie stumbles and thrives along two very different life paths in the company of two very different love interests, both of whom you can’t help but root for. And audiences are certainly embracing the novelty! Written by April Prosser and directed by Wanuri Kahiu, the film quickly rose to Netflix’s number one spot upon debuting last week and has remained there ever since.
In another deviation from typical Tinseltown offerings, the bulk of the movie is set and was shot in Austin, a spot that is largely uncharted territory in the world of romantic comedies. Taking full advantage of all the area has to offer, with Texas playing both itself and L.A., the production highlights an array of scenic backdrops, proving the Lone Star State certainly looks great onscreen!
A handsome colonial at 502 W. San Antonio St. in Lockhart, which currently operates as an Airbnb, is the spot where Natalie takes a pregnancy test at “Look Both Ways'” outset, thereby setting off the movie’s entire chain of events. In the non-pregnancy storyline, Gabe plays a South by Southwest gig at Austin’s famed Stubb’s Bar-B-Q. And Eastside Tech Hub at 2416 E. 6th St. masquerades as the L.A. offices of the Tall Story animation studios, where Natalie gets a job working for her idol, art director Lucy Galloway (Nia Long).