Look Both Ways

Written and directed by Sarah Watt

PG-13, 100 min., 2005 Australia

I went to see “Look Both Ways” at 11 p.m., a time when I didn’t think anybody would see me slipping in without my movie buddy. If caught, I planned to say, “She wouldn’t have enjoyed this one anyway, as I already heard it’s about death, and she generally likes upbeat films.” How wrong I was!

I had never heard of Sarah Watt before she touched me deeply with her movie, but I knew I was on to something when the opening credits revealed that the Australian government’s film commission patronized it. We never saw one of their movies that we didn’t appreciate, even the scary one that was so scary we had to leave in the middle.

I missed my movie buddy even more as the multimedia, multi-character, multi-plot, multi-movie unwound across the screen. The characters were all affected by death, worried about death, obsessed with death, confronting death, and helplessly watching death approach within breathing distance. It was almost a silent movie, except for the slow, moody songs. Symbolism and faces told the stories.

Every one of us writing or reading this is going to die. Can we deal with it or do we just pretend we won’t? The characters in Watt’s excellent movie, each in their own way, poorly or well, deal with it. It’s a fine message. How I wish I had shared it with my movie buddy. How I would have held her, afterward!