…LOOK BOTH WAYS… “It doesn’t matter how life ends it matters how it was” How is this quote relevant to the characters and why is it important? Sarah Watts “Look Both Ways” is a compelling story of the tragic lives of several Adelaide adults. It doesn’t how life ends it matters how you lived it and what you accomplished in the time given to you. Look Both Ways shows viewers the struggle Nick journeys through as he is told he has cancer, to Phil realizing he has missed his family growing up, to Meryl seeing death and misfortune and in the end letting go.
In the film Look Both Ways, Watt shows one of the main characters Nick, is diagnosed with stage 5 prostate cancer which has spread to the lungs and possibly other organs. Nick tells his boss Phil “I have cancer” to which Phil replies “What skin cancer? ” Watt uses this simple scene to show Phil’s lack of compassion and inconsiderate behavior towards Nick, as well as the typical Australian approach to emotional situations. Nick has a photomontage which shows us an insight of his life. It shows us his behaviors which could have contributed to his cancer, such as the time he went into a toxic yard to take photographs.
Nick dreams of travelling the world to take pictures for his job as we discover when he confides in Meryl, but due to the cancer he is frightened ad now fears it is too late. This shows viewers that Nick has not lived to the fullest and is now regretting some of his decisions in life. Once Phil learns of Nick’s misfortune, he takes a step back and looks at his life. As Nick leaves Phil’s office, Phil throws his packet of cigarettes in the rubbish bin. He sees himself neglecting his family, friends and anything or anyone remotely close to him, just so he can work.
The next morning Phil goes home to learn it is his daughter Sophie’s birthday, but does not know how old she is. “I’m 10” Sophie replied to her father and looks back to her bowl of food coldly. Watt shows how Phil has missed out on cherishing moments within his family. Phil sees that he is pushing his family away and strives to turn things around for the better, firstly by attending his daughter’s party and looking after his baby son. When Meryl meets Nick she has just come from her father’s funeral and has witnessed a man tragically killed by a train.
Nick and Meryl hit it off in an awkward fashion and end up talking about their lives. When Meryl tells Nick of her father’s passing, he replies with “That’s awful” to which she responds attempting to be optimistic “Maybe it was never meant to be, there is always someone worser off” and as saying that picturing two Aboriginal children with a rundown shack. Throughout this entire film Watt lets us peer into Meryl’s mind through animations, exposing the way she consistently ponders her death and tragic events, in contrast to her forced positivity in public.
As the hot, sticky weekend progresses so to does her queer relationship with Nick, and as the weekend comes to an end she has had a one night stand, met Nick’s mother and had a fierce row with Nick. But as the rain comes, it cleanses Meryl and she realizes then, this is life, laughs and runs into the rain storm to find Nick, and flings herself into his arms and passionately kisses him, as all her troubled emotions and consistent pondering of death washes away.
Watt uses a photo montage to give us an insight into Nick’s remission from cancer, and with Meryl by his side they travel the world together, living life to the fullest, and how Phil is now family orientated and spends time with his family and friends. Look Both Ways shows viewers life isn’t always fair, you cannot choose what happens so make the most of it while you can, even if you have cancer, even if you have pushed away everyone that loves you, even if you despair, even if you have hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up and enjoy the train ride along the way. Just make sure you “Look Both Ways”. By Stephanie Panetta.