Scrambled: Celebrating Choice

Scrambled tells the story of Nellie Robinson (Leah McKendrick), the quintessential bridesmaid who bounces between her friends’ various weddings, baby showers and and endless stream of bad dates. With her love life temporarily stagnant, she decides to freeze her eggs in order to give her options for the future. But, her choice to do what’s right for her seems to leave others lost, leaving Nellie feeling alone as she fights for her future.

Written and directed by Leah McKendrick, Scrambled is a genuinely funny film that never forgets the seriousness of its content. Stepping behind the camera, McKendrick gives the film a genuine pop. There’s a spirit of youthfulness about Scrambled’s style that gives it an infectious joy. Scribbled text overlays and energetic tunes fuel the film in ways that give it a ‘college feel’, even if the subject matter is much more mature in nature.

Leah McKendrick as Nellie Robinson in Scrambled. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lionsgate

Of course, what keep Scrambled from boiling over is an incredible performance from McKendrick herself. As Nellie, McKendrick is positively fierce. Although Nellie may be struggling, her performance is confident, empowering, and very funny. While one may not know what inspired the piece, there’s no doubt that Scrambled feels like a personal journey for the writer/director and she remains committed to her performance.

Wearing her heart on her sleeve, this coming-of-age story feels honest at every level. As a single woman in her mid-thirties, Nellie has no regrets for her life decisions. Although she and her (seemingly) perfect boyfriend are no longer together, she seems to enjoy her life of freedom. Yes, she wouldn’t mind finding ‘the one’… but neither does she need to have ‘one’ in order to enjoy her life.Instead, Nellie’s biggest problem is that everyone else around her seems to think that she’s missing something.

Leah McKendrick as Nellie Robinson in Scrambled. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lionsgate

After all, this is the age when everyone is partnering up and starting families. So, to those that choose to do so, it seems odd that anyone would choose another path. With her decision to freeze her eggs, Nellie is trying to give herself options. To bide some time until she’s ready to step into parenthood herself or when she’s in a relationship stable enough to do it together. 

Nellie understands that age plays a factor in giving birth. It can be a struggle to have children at any age—a reality driven home by a support group for miscarriages later in the film—and, as she gets old, that process won’t get any easier. Freezing her eggs give her the time and options that she needs. 

In essence, it’s not her biological clock that’s ticking. It’s the clock of biology that seems to be running short.

Leah McKendrick as Nellie Robinson in Scrambled. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lionsgate

Though, while she may be wisely weighing her options, those around her remain unsupportive. Parents pressuring for grandchildren and confused friends who ask insensitive questions pressure her to do what others are doing with their lives simply because it’s what they view as ‘normal’. 

In many ways, Scrambled is a story that wants to dissect ‘normalcy’ by exploring the beauty of personal choice. Having chosen her life path, all Nellie needs is the support of those in her life. Yet their blinders to the way things are ‘supposed to be’ becomes an emotional obstacle for her. But, without giving any spoilers, Scrambled never abandons her. This is a film that wants to celebrate the beauty of doing things differently, even if others around you don’t fully understand. There’s real power in that admission.

Although the film may be called Scrambled, one can’t help but admire the ways that McKendrick holds the film together. This is a film never loses its focus, leaning into its subject with love and grace.

Scrambled is available in theatres on Friday, February 2nd, 2024.

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