‘Look Away’ is a riveting film that follows Maria, a teenage girl who struggles with loneliness and bullying in high school. Her world takes a bizarre and eerie twist when she stumbles upon Airam, her reflection in the mirror, who asks her to switch places with her. As Maria and Airam exchange places, the latter wreaks havoc on those who have tormented Maria, seeking revenge and the attention she has constantly desired.
However, the consequences of Airam’s actions are far more chilling than she could have ever imagined. Directed by Assaf Bernstein, the 2018 psychological horror film features enthralling performances by India Eisley, Mira Sorvino, and Jason Isaacs. The realistic narrative of the film, coupled with the authentic portrayal of characters, makes one wonder if it is rooted in reality. If you are also curious about the same, we have got you covered!
Is Look Away Based on a True Story?
No, ‘Look Away’ is not based on a true story. The film is entirely a work of fiction and the brainchild of director Bernstein, who also penned the script. The filmmaker revealed that he used to be scared of his reflection in his bathroom mirror during childhood and thought that the mirror represented the other side of him. Inspired by his own fear, he came up with the idea of the film and wrote a script around it. That being said, even though the movie is a work of fiction, the themes it portrays are very much relevant to the real world.
The Assaf Bernstein directorial particularly deals with the critical subjects of bullying and isolation, body image and insecurity, and parent-child relationships. Maria, a shy and introverted young girl by nature, is consistently bullied at her school by her batchmate Mark. She suffers from loneliness and has only one friend, Lily, but even she isn’t genuinely devoted to their bond. While Maria is tormented by Mark almost every day, she is not able to gather the courage to stand up to him.
The insensitive taunts and remarks result in Maria leading a miserable school life. All of this also has a devastating effect on her mental health. It is no secret that bullying is a real problem, and an uncountable number of children and teenagers across the globe face the same issues in their schools or colleges as Maria does at her alma mater. Body image and the insecurity arising from it is another sensitive topic that is touched upon in the film.
No matter how much Maria tries to explain her situation to her parents, they, especially her father, Dan, are more concerned about how she looks and how other people perceive her. When the young girl is unable to sleep at night after her first interaction with Airam and attempts to explain the ordeal to Dan, he shuts her down and tells her to apply make-up on her face so that she does not appear to be sleep-deprived at school. Instead of loving and caring for his daughter, Dan goes on to convince her to get cosmetic surgery on her face so she can get rid of the features that he considers flaws in her beauty.
With the immense pressure to look good as per the standards of those around her, Maria is not able to lead a normal life and often feels insecure about her appearance. Millions of people around the world go through the same insecurities when they get unsolicited remarks about their bodies and looks. The film also explores the theme of parent-child relationships. Maria suffers mental abuse at the hands of her father, and her mother, who is dealing with her own stress and nightmares, is not able to help her out.
With no support from her loved ones, Maria seeks help from Airam, who eventually turns her life upside down. The whole bloodshed and destruction of lives could have been avoided if Maria’s family had a more open environment where they could talk about each other’s issues. Taking the aforementioned points into account, we reiterate that ‘Look Away’ is not based on any real story; however, it addresses some extremely significant themes that are applicable to the real world.
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