SXSW Review: “If You Were The Last” Anthony Mackie & Zoe Chao Bring The Charm Back to Rom/Coms

Director Kristian Mercado’s latest film If You Were The Last starring Anthony Mackie and Zoe Chao harkens back to the old-school approach of Romantic Comedies. The trend lately in this genre has typically been more com than rom typically pushing cheap laughs with opposites who attract over a more realistic approach. If You Were The Last breaks that mold and it is a refreshingly welcome change.

The film centers around two astronauts (Anthony Mackie & Zoe Chao) with a hilariously surprising cameo from (Missy Pyle) who are adrift in a broken-down space shuttle with no hope of rescue as they argue over whether they should risk taking their relationship to the next level or stay friends. What stands out in the script written by Angela Bourassa (discovered on The Black List) and Kristian Mercado’s vision is how ‘real’ the relationship between these two characters feels.

From the get-go, you are pulled into their friendship. I found myself heavily invested in these two. Their chemistry is incredible but also the amount of respect that both of them have towards each other screams ‘friendship goals.’ That difficult balance achieved in this film could have easily gone south in the wrong hands but Mercado sets the bar for what a modern rom/com should feel like.

When you read the script it was always tender. There was a line which read “this isn’t space as we’ve seen it. This is a full-on fantasy.” That stuck with me… building the the aesthetic (of the film) I based it around emotion. -Director, Kristian Mercado

Instead of being stuck on a typical space shuttle that we would all visualize we are struck with a set piece entirely unexpected. Not just the shuttle but space itself has a fantastical childlike charm that reinforces the pure and sweet relationship between our two protagonists. This itself is incredibly delicate to pull off, especially in a film with a limited cast and was a pleasure to see.

A great script, visionary director, and incredible performances make this not just a perfect date flick but a film that infuses a good dose of charm back into the genre.

Listen to the full interview with Director Kristian Mercado

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