If You Were the Last Movie Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Starting February 8, you can watch the sci-fi rom-com If You Were Last in theaters, starring new Captain America Anthony Mackie and Zoe Chao. This is the directorial debut of Christian Mercado, based on a script by Angela Barasso, who described the film as “When Harry Met Sally in space with dancing.” In the review below we tell you whether it makes sense for viewers to pay attention to this film, especially couples in love who decide to spend a joint evening “with a movie”.


a moderately charming and energetic romantic story in a whimsical fantasy setting; a good screen duo from Anthony Mackie and Zoe Chao; excellent retro stylization of the space shuttle; compact timekeeping


after an hour of viewing, a twist and change of mood occurs, greatly disturbing the initial atmosphere and spoiling the overall impression; thus, the film begins as a rather exciting rom-com, but ends with too lazy predictability, dictated by the unwritten rules of the genre

“If You Were the Last”

Genre sci-fi romantic comedy
Directed by Christian Mercado
Starring: Anthony Mackie, Zoe Chao, Natalie Morales, Geoff Stults, Missi Pyle
Premiere cinemas
Year of release 2023
IMDb website

Astronauts Adam and Jane, members of a NASA mission, have been drifting in space somewhere between Jupiter and Saturn for three years without the slightest hope of returning home. The navigation system of their space shuttle is out of order, and there is no connection with Earth, so there is no point in dreaming about any “Houston, we have a problem.” The third crew member Benson died, or rather died, and a couple of unwitting space travelers are doing everything not to die of boredom.

Jane still hasn’t given up hope of fixing the navigation, and Adam is still hoping to develop a hybrid of marijuana and blueberries. A few chickens and quite a real goat make the local society a little more diverse, so at least the would-be astronauts are provided with eggs and milk for a long time. Other entertainment includes dancing to your favorite music, classic movies with popcorn, improvised dialogues with what is left of your deceased colleague (actually a skeleton in a spacesuit).

Everything changes the moment Adam asks Jane to sleep with her. Considering that the chances of returning to their other halves are scanty – and it is not a fact that they have not decided to move on – this step seems logical and justified. The girl tries to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision, but no matter what she answers, the sex promises to be unearthly.

At first, “If You Were Last” seems eerily similar to another new release this week, “Love on Call.” True, the material here is clearly poppier, but this does not negate the fact of the same intimacy, the same two characters in the frame, their endless conversations and leisurely maturation for sex. However, after a moment this analogy quickly fades from one’s mind, since the film by debutant Christian Mercado is completely devoid of drama and is aimed at frivolous pastime at the screen.

Unlike the dramedy with Emma Thompson, Mercado’s film is not characterized by dialogue splendor, but by the playful energy of the narrative, where there is a place for fun, wonderful time together, and, ultimately, love, but no despair, regret and tears.

Let the heroes find themselves in a really difficult situation, like Jim and Aurora in Morten Tyldum’s “Passengers,” or Tony Stark and Nebula, since we remember Marvel, but this is not a reason to be discouraged. In fact, here we have a complete utopia, a fabulous fantasy adventure, as far from reality as the main characters are from home. And this approach creates a positive wave.

It works to create the appropriate mood and atmosphere, which, among other things, is achieved through a bright environment. It resembles not the space of a space shuttle, but the set of an average sitcom. The grass is always green there, and the carefree substitution of reality is a great form of escapism.

The atmosphere is reinforced by a nostalgic 80s vibe, evident in neon-lit shots and technology somewhere from the analogue era – from music players to the on-board computer with the corresponding image on the screen.

The science fiction here exists purely as a backdrop for a romantic story, and the space adventure itself is a blatant convention. While watching, a lot of logical questions may arise (where does the goat come from, for example), but it is better to leave the “excellent student syndrome” somewhere outside the cinema. After all, what can you expect from a film where the footage of a flight in space is made in the style of animation from children’s cartoons, and the space shuttle and the planets around it are nothing more than products made of papier-mâché.

Anthony Mackie and Zoe Chao, who exactly a year ago shone in the rom-com To You or Me, make a cute on-screen duo and give out several dance routines for which they should not be ashamed.

His Adam is inclined towards country music, prefers to watch Casablanca and, fortunately, has never seen Ridley Scott’s Alien. Her Jane cannot imagine life without the songs of Lionel Richie, instead of “Casablanca” she offers “Die Hard” (“I need Hans Gruber!” she cries) and promises herself to never eat chicken eggs again, provided she returns to Earth.

Together they discuss The Martian, play chess, fool around, fall in love, projecting this optimistic mood onto the viewer. And this couple also resembles (hmm, why would that be?) the newest Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and the female characters even have the same names.

But. Everything that was said good about the film above applies only to the first hour of the running time. After a fateful plot twist that turns everything upside down, not a trace remains of the initial magic and charm. The final act greatly disrupts the atmosphere and the set mood, slows down the energetic pace, and spoils the overall impression. He exists only to complete the story logically and in a lazy, predictable manner.

Overall, If You Were Last deserves to be chosen to be watched one night with your significant other. This is a fairly fun, energetic and undeniably stylish romantic comedy that interestingly represents the genre and again reminds that love will definitely win.


You probably won’t want to add If You Were Last to your favorites folder and take it with you on a space trip for repeated viewings. But the one-time earthly tape is well deserved.

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