Fears can paralyse individuals by making them feel anxious and paranoid with their lives and surroundings. They would be constantly worried about what’s happening around them, which causes them to feel restless and isolated. In ‘Look Both Ways’, Meryl experiences her fear with death after attending her Dad’s funeral and witnessed a man getting run over by a train. She realises that death can happen to anyone at unexpected times. She starts to perceive negative things and death happening to her. Her anxiety has caused her mind to imagine and turn things into worst case scenarios. When she’s walking, she imagines the train derailing overhead and crash on top of her, and when she sees a man walking a dog, she sees him as a threat whom is about to attack her attacking her, the chances of all these things happening are quite low. It shows that her fear in death has a great impact on her anxiety and her mental state, making her feel disconnected and isolated.
Rather than talking to others about her problem, she uses painting as an emotional release. ‘It’s cheaper than therapy.’ In the film, Sarah Watt uses animation to show Meryl’s anxiety and the accidents she imagines and puts herself in. It also shows how Meryl is often drowned in her world of fear in death, and hopes to live a peaceful life. Disconnection and isolation caused by fear can often paralyse them as it makes them anxious and paranoid. They would often be worried about what is going to happen making them feel restless and not being able to relax. Their anxiety paranoia would tend to separate them from others. Fear can cause others to be paralysed emotionally if they are unable to make a decision and deal with it. They wouldn’t be able to open up and express their emotions putting more pressure on themselves, making them feel paralysed, disconnected and numb from over time. Nick from ‘Look Both Ways’ is a journalist for the newspaper who had discovered that he has testicular cancer.
Finding out his illness has triggered his fear with death and he finds it hard to build up courage to discuss his emotions, fear and illness with others which is also one of the reasons why Meryl and him has an awkward relationship. Nick is accepting the fact that he has cancer while Meryl is still dealing with grief, and they both don’t know whether they should tell each other their problem and what to talk about otherwise. Sarah Watt uses photo montage to show others Nick’s feelings and thoughts at times. The different images flashings in his mind to show what he is thinking and his fears of having cancer as well as the memories that he is unable to discuss with anyone.
Fear often effect the ability of people to express their emotions and unable to connect with others making them paralysed and isolated. While some are paralysed by fear, some deal with it by facing it and making a decision. By making a decision, they can become a better person and not feeling anxious all the time. In ‘Look Both Ways’, Andy is a journalist who uses media as a way to deal with anxiety and has an obsession with suicide. He is also very insensitive and inconsiderate of others. Nick is afraid of responsibilities and doesn’t like kids, he likes his single life where he is able to do whatever he wants. Although he is living a single, he is depressed and has a dark personality because of the fact that he is alone.
When he got Anna pregnant, he thinks that she’s done it on purpose to pin him down in a serious relationship with responsibilities. However, in the end, Nick decides to face his anxiety by making a decision and look after the baby with Anna. By doing so, he has become a better person who has responsibilities and starts to think of others as well as himself. He is no longer alone and depressed because he faced his fears by taking responsibility and is no longer by himself. Fear can paralyse people over time, although by making a decision and facing their fears can often make them a better person.