West End Movie Group

Stories of our Lives

© 2011 Linda Tiessen-Wiebe Contact Me

Look Both Ways


On a Friday after a horrific train crash, three newsmen in Adelaide must take stock: Nick, a photojournalist, learns he has cancer; Andy, a writer with two children who has a bad relationship with his ex, learns his girlfriend Anna is pregnant; Phil, an editor, realizes he's missing his children's growing up. That afternoon, Meryl, an artist who illustrates sympathy cards and constantly imagines disasters, witnesses a train accident kill a man. At the crash site, she meets Nick, and a relationship flowers over the next three days which makes them both question their lives, wants and needs. Nick's mother, Andy's kids and ex, the dead man's girlfriend, the driver of the train, and his son round out an ensemble of grief and sorrow as each character becomes linked to another through the train accident. Can decisions to act bring hope?



Death is the subject we edge around. If it is on the sidewalk, we step into the street. If it is on the telephone, we hang up. We don't open its letters. To know that we will die is such a final and unanswerable rebuke. And yet without death, we'd all be bored out of our minds, if indeed we had even developed minds in the first place. Sometimes I think the whole process of evolution leads up to our ability to comprehend the words: Gather ye rosebuds while ye may. Read full Roger Ebert review...

If anything Look Both Ways reminds you that when something happens at a point in time, there are a myriad consequences and events flying off from it through any number of people, not just in the direction you're looking. This might not all just be about self-preservation when crossing the road. Read full Eye For Film review


Questions For Discussion

1 How does the use of animation and news headlines contribute (or detract) from the story?

2 What is the effect of the ending 'chorus' in the rain on you as a viewer?

3 What are the possible meanings of the movie title?

4 What character were you drawn to or repulsed by?

5 What biblical stories does 'Look Both Ways' remind you of? What about other movies?

6 The director Sarah Watt hopes the movie is not just about these imaginery characters, but a universal story. How would tell this story?

7 What are some of the dynamics in the Merril and Nick relationship that make it believable?

8 The movie is about facing personal disasters set in the context of a larger disaster. Is this similar to how you see life? Why or why not?Director has said: "There are joyous aspects even to our darkest days." Do you think we need a faith perspective to say this?

9 When is politeness counter-productive? (Merril's character)

10 What is the place for laughter in our darkest moments?

11 When death and danger is all around, what do need to do to live fearlessly?

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