A new mother (Jodie Comer), her partner (Joel Fry), and their infant are driven out of London into the English countryside by cataclysmic flooding, in this adaptation of Megan Hunter’s prophetic bestseller.
The End We Start From
England, tomorrow: Forced out of London by cataclysmic flooding, a new mother (Jodie Comer) her partner (Joel Fry), and their infant make their way to his parents’ home in the countryside, only to find the situation growing increasingly desperate there, as well.
Adapting Megan Hunter’s prophetic 2017 novel, director Mahalia Belo and screenwriter Alice Birch model their film on the author’s spare, elliptical prose, keeping the disaster just off-screen and letting their actors wear the pressure and tension of the story on their faces as their world gets a little smaller and a lot scarier. Comer (Killing Eve, The Last Duel), in a role unlike any she’s played before, balances a new mother’s physical and psychic exhaustion with an unyielding life force that makes her the ideal audience surrogate.
The End We Start From is ultimately a cautionary tale, its characters moving episodically through various strata of social collapse. Fry (Cruella, Our Flag Means Death) dials down his substantial charm to play a man desperate to do good in a landscape that offers nothing but horrible options, while Mark Strong, Nina Sosanya, Gina McKee, Katherine Waterston, and Benedict Cumberbatch (who also produced the film) all contribute brief but indelible appearances.
An apocalyptic drama that still makes room for hope, The End We Start From uses the language of genre to ask the only question that matters about our increasingly bleak future: What will you do? And why aren’t you doing it already?
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival
Content advisory: mature themes, violence, nudity, coarse language