Leah McKendrick who wrote, directed, and stars in the comedy/drama based the story on her own quest to keep her options open. Like her heroine, Nellie Robinson, a 30-something jewelry designer and perpetual bridesmaid contemplating how to go about being a grown-up, McKendrick froze her eggs for future motherhood. In the film, we see the ups and downs of that process, including regressing to adolescence when dealing with her successful brother, revisiting her high-school days (and crush), and coming to terms with what the universe has in store for her. The result is a film that deftly combines trauma and farce into a timely study of a woman running out of time. Or so she thinks. Gritty yet sensitive, absurd yet philosophical, SCRAMBLED takes the havoc wrought by societal (and family) expectations and offers an alternative paradigm in which one set of rules does not fit all, but caring about one’s fellow creatures, even the less than palatable ones, does.
When I spoke to McKendrick via Zoom on January 24, 2023, I started with the obvious question about when she realized her experience with extending her fertility would make a film. No, make that NEEDED to be a film. We went on to talk about how her relationship with her body (and with vanity) changed as she went through the egg extraction process, and how she came up with the wonderfully apt metaphor of the avocado when describing women in Hollywood.
We finished up with using humor to tell a serious story, the messiness of being a human being, and learning to speak her own language thanks to Bruce Miller (showrunner of A Handmaid’s Tale).
The film co-stars Ego Nwodim, Henry Zebrowski, Laura Cerón, Mimi Kennedy, Brett Dier, Sterling Suleiman as the persistent high-school crush, and Clancey Brown as Nellie’s well-meaning but utterly bemused father.
McKendrick directed from her own script, and this is her feature film directorial debut.