Look Both Ways

Where I Watched It: Netflix

English Audio Description Available?: Yes

Netflix has vomited out another cheap film they do not care if anyone likes. However, they do hope you are a fan of Riverdale, otherwise, much like Sofia Carson anchoring Purple Hearts, this film is aimed very directly at the same age range with its casting of Lily Reinhardt than likely you’ll pass this over.

But not me. not the critics. We review shit like this.

truthfully, it’s average, to slightly below average. It’s not really a god awful film, it just rolls in mediocrity, and the idea that many have come before and done this two lives diverging concept in far more interesting ways before. For those who love Broadway, I highly recommend the musical if/Then, and for movie lovers, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Sliding Doors is better than this.

Here, life changes with a pregnancy test. It’s a huge moment to be sure, but everything hinges on either a positive or negative test result. For those in the blind community, this is something we will have to live with for the remainder of our lives in this film, as the character after this will be referred to based on her test results. And until you have half a movie spent where you listen to a character constantly be called negative simply because they failed to pass a pregnancy test, you have not lived.

I’ve been around and around in discussions on this, with people admittedly who have seen this film not caring, and others found it jarring like myself. That she would forever have a literal negative connotation attached to her, while the other side that had a baby have a positive one, is problematic at the very least, for a myriad of reasons I’ve spent far too long arguing about.

As a film, to the visual audience, her life seems equally diverse, with challenges on both sides, and rewards no matter what side she chooses. So, I’m sure it comes across as a much more uplifting film. But to a blind and visually impaired audience, it suggests that this pregnancy test and its negative result will have some disarming and unknown bad influence on the remainder of your life. And, in an era where Roe vs Wade now has women pumping out babies whether they want them or not, we have a film suggesting that to somehow not meet that requirement will leave you feeling deficient. or at the very least, it will be used as a cautionary tale in a shitty Netflix film to remind women who either choose to not get pregnant, are not ready to get pregnant, or cannot get pregnant for a multitude of reasons that they are inadequate.

it was not the intention of the audio description team to create this experience, which admittedly not everyone has had. They just used the diverging point of the pregnancy test as the defining moment in splitting a character who goes in two different directions simultaneously like another parallel universe has been created. But, in a world where Spider-Man no Way Home chose to number them during the climatic battle sequence, i believe there was a much better way to do this.

Just because you have someone in quality control doesn’t mean everything is perfect all the time, and just because you approached this with the honest and best intentions, doesn’t mean the finished product is what it needs to be.

As it stands, I’d tell a blind and visually impaired audience to avoid this film. no one needs this in their life. honestly, it’s just another basic mediocre Netflix film that they feel the need to release weekly instead of potentially giving something like The Sandman a second season. A second season of The Sandman might cost the same as a hundred look Both Ways, but I’d gladly give up whatever those 100 films are starring someone who was on the Disney Channel/The CW.

Final Grade: C-

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