SXSW 2023: If You Were the Last, Upon Entry, Scrambled | Festivals & Awards
McKendrick stars in the movie as Nellie, a 34-year-old Etsy jeweler who decides to go about the process of freezing her eggs. Maybe someday she’ll have kids, but she’s not ready to decide yet. (“I don’t even know if I want kids! I’ve seen Euphoria” got one of my biggest laughs.) Nellie is still figuring herself out as an individual and dealing with the break-up with an ex named Sean. Her recently married friend Sheila (Ego Nwodim) is supportive but busy, and her mother (Laura Cerón) is only so helpful. And the men in her life don’t seem to get it, like her father (Clancy Brown), or her smug finance bro brother (Andrew Santino), the latter written to be the walking embodiment of penis privilege.
Meanwhile, everyone’s life around Nellie seems to be taking off, and other people’s major celebrations—a wedding, a baby shower, an engagement party—offer an illustrative backdrop that shows how isolated she can be. McKendrick is especially funny in these moments, trying to force a big smile through the awkwardness and masking her own frustrations. Throughout, McKendrick nails her intent of making us root for Nellie, and then being invested in each choice she makes, whether it proves disastrous or not. In a plot development that’s funny but also can make for some hit-and-miss character jokes, Nellie retraces her romantic history to maybe see if there’s still a chance for connection; she meets up with her exes and sees how weird some of these guys turned out to be. One dud even pops back into her life wearing an ankle bracelet.
Throughout the script’s batch of gritty dating jokes, we see Nellie injecting herself with prescribed medication, preparing her eggs for the big procedure. For all of the emotions that McKendrick tries to throw in this story, she most effectively illustrates, and wrestles with, how lonely the process can be if you’re doing it alone. That’s where we feel the most for her character, and also where McKendrick can be a little too tidy with setting up an emotional monologue here or a surprise character development there. But “Scrambled” never loses sight of its sincerity, and McKendrick uses this space to lovingly illuminate, if not destigmatize a fertility option not given nearly as much visibility as other choices. She does so with a wealth of life wisdom and big laughs in the process.