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Look Both Ways (2005)

Mary Kostakidis , Justine Clarke , Sarah Watt  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Mary Kostakidis, Justine Clarke, Daniela Farinacci, Robbie Hoad, William McInnes
  • Directors: Sarah Watt
  • Writers: Sarah Watt
  • Producers: Andrew Myer, Barbara Masel, Bridget Ikin, Vicki Sugars
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Kino International
  • DVD Release Date: December 5, 2006
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #298,370 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Look Both Ways" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Interview with director Sarah Watt
  • Interview with actress Justine Clarke
  • Stills gallery

Editorial Reviews

In her "deliriously inventive" (New York Magazine) live action feature debut Look Both Ways, award winning Australian animator Sarah Watt explores the timeless frontiers of love, life, death, and imagination with humor, originality, and honesty. Meryl (Justine Clarke), a lonely artist, literally envisions disaster around every corner. Through "bursts of painterly, jewel-toned animation," (The New York Times) Meryl's whimsically mordant daydream shark attacks, train wrecks and bridge collapses follow her everywhere. Nick (William McInnes) is a photojournalist whose work keeps him emotionally distanced from the tragedies he documents. When Meryl and Nick meet in the aftermath of a real train accident, their lives, and the lives of a handful of other witnesses and victims, are revealed and transformed. "Maybe the right thing happens," Meryl wonders aloud. Meryl and Nick's mutual attraction places them at the center of a brightly colored, multi-plotted human tapestry that "weaves together thoughts of death the way Crash wove together thoughts of racism." (Roger Ebert) As ripples of fate, coincidence, regret, and desire link stranger to stranger, everyone becomes a survivor. Look Both Ways is both a contemporary romantic comedy and a "wonderfully, unpretentiously smart" (Elle) examination of life's limits, risks, and mysteries. Winner of multiple Australian Film Institute awards, this perceptive yet slyly entertaining film hails the arrival of "an original and important talent." (Roger Ebert) Sarah Watt's Look Both Ways gently peels back the layers of fear, courage and hope that define and unite us all.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fate May 2, 2006
Meryl (a smart, put-upon, long hippie-skirt wearing, Justine Clark) daydreams about death and disaster and these occurrences take physical shape via animated scenes that Australian Director/Writer Sarah Watt intersperses throughout her volatile, crazy, "Magnolia" without the pretense, "Look Both Ways." On paper, these animated sequences may sound tricky and maybe too obvious but in reality, they seem natural, a little crazy, maybe...but completely natural in this world that Watt has created.
One day Meryl sees a man run over by a train: it's her worst nightmare come to life. Does it freak her out? Does it send her into a catatonic fit? Does it send her to hospital?
She accepts it as something that was "meant to be": a mantra that shapes the rest of this tremendously affecting, heartfelt though oftentimes surrealistic film.
Watt structures the film along the lines of several other films like "Short Cuts" or "Nashville": intertwining stories featuring others affected by the train accident: a photographer, Nick (good-guy, emotionally available, William McInnes), Newspaper writer, Andy (an emotionally unavailable, un-communicative except in his writing, Anthony Hayes), the Train Driver (a destroyed, Andreas Sobik) and their significant others.
"Look Both Ways" is something that all Mothers tell their children. It means be careful, take care, I need You: there's always something out there looking to hurt you. But here it also means: Look closely, don't be fooled by the surface of things... things are not always what they seem; there are always at least two ways to evaluate any situation.
Watt shares the slightly out-of-kilter, skewed towards the witty and intelligent world view of her fellow Aussie film makers and she imbues "Look Both Ways" with both an open hearted sense of fun and a profound, natural love of her characters and their strange but always human ways.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crash WANTS to be this good October 15, 2006
In one of this Australian drama's best scenes, two characters obsessed with death look a different way. One is an artist, Meryl Lee (Clarke), who turns everyday events in her imagination into fatal accidents and crimes after the sudden passing of her father. The other is a globe-trotting photographer, Nick (McInnes), who in the movie's first few minutes is diagnosed with testicular cancer that's traveled to his lungs. He starts seeing, in photographic montages, terrible sickness and death. The two are awkwardly flirting in Meryl's apartment after unexpected encounters at the scene of an accident and the next day on the street. They both anxiously confide in each other that they see death when they look at people, then just as anxiously ask if they see death when they look at each other. Both answer no. In just a few days' time, their relationship grows just as suddenly as the cancer tumors Nick imagines bursting from his body and the faces of strangers.

But that's just one piece of the film's narrative, which also boasts a Crash-like intermingling of people, events, hopes and fears with unplanned pregnancies, reformed workaholics, terrible grief and familial reconciliation. However, unlike Crash -- a film about racism that beat viewers over the head with its message -- Look Both Ways tackles the ultimate equalizer, death, with gentle touches and a believable dialogue and story.

The film's message and satisfying happy ending? We can't conquer death, but we can learn to live with it if we look both ways: be cautious and healthy, take risks and be happy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Look At Death But Don't Dwell On It December 8, 2006
Death is a touchy subject to broach regardless of the medium in which you choose to expose it. It's uncomfortable to even think about yet touches us all on many levels, and that is why LOOK BOTH WAYS succeeds.

Building on death in thought-provoking, sad, and often hilarious terms, Look Both Ways binds a small Australian community together after the death of a man upon the local railroad tracks. Meryl (Justine Clarke, DANNY DECKCHAIR) witnesses the horrible event and summons the authorities. The local media shows up, including photojournalist Nick (William McInnes, IRRESISTIBLE) who's just been diagnosed with a rapidly spreading cancer. Also on the scene is Nick's newspaper partner Andy (Anthony Hayes, NED KELLY) and eventually the deceased's wife Julia (Daniella Farinacci, BROTHERS).

Meryl sees the event as just another death, something that fill her thoughts and her paintings on a daily basis. Her vivid imagination surrounding death is illustrated (literally) via laughingly silly animated sequences that are sure to tickle your dark funny bone. Photojournalist Nick sees himself on the railroad tracks, having just received a medical death sentence of metastatic testicular cancer. Newspaper writer Andy battles to understand life and death while struggling to be a good father to his divorced children, and the discovery that his new girlfriend is pregnant with an unwanted child. Widow Julia tries to understand the seemingly meaninglessness of her husband's death as flowers flow into her home and she's forced to come to grips with such a sudden loss.

Where Look Both Ways succeeds is in its delivery. Each person views death under their own unique umbrella, but are bound together by this one tragic event.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Sweet
a very entertaining and sweet movie. Worth watching especially if you are prone to worry.
Published 15 days ago by sas
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!
Wonderful story of not giving up and sometimes life isn't always black and white! Live for now, now what might happen.
Published 1 month ago by Peggy Helton
4.0 out of 5 stars beautiful, delving labor of love and empathy
An uplifting exploration of the weight we all bear one way or another between life's humorous and joyful moments. Read more
Published 4 months ago by K. Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars a gem
it starts off slow but by the end i was almost crying and laughing at the same time. great film
Published 5 months ago by George
4.0 out of 5 stars Six Degrees of Separation
Six degrees of separation between what happens in your life and people you barely know. The artistic female character in this movie is obsessed with disasters and fears which are... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Tina
5.0 out of 5 stars Not What I Was Expectining In A Good Way
This film went in several different directions in a kind of all roads lead to Rome fashion. And it was brilliant. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mark Showalter
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting movie to study.
The visual effects present in the film provide students in English classes with a lot to digest and discuss. Read more
Published 11 months ago by StriveForExcellence
2.0 out of 5 stars Tried three times, couldn't finish this flick
Huge cast of characters that seem unrelated. Plot lines that flounder and then die with no consistency between them. Seems like it was written by 3-4 different people. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Self Help Specialist
5.0 out of 5 stars Life is ironic
This movie does a great job of addressing some ironies of life (not the fake Alanyse Morset kind, she had no clue what real irony was). Read more
Published 18 months ago by T. Jensen
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be deaf to your own heartbeat
"Look Both Ways" is about life and death, grief and joy, how lives are linked and forces the characters to take stock in their lives. Read more
Published on September 26, 2011 by Marc Albert
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