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Rosena Allin-Khan reviews 'The End We Start From'

Jody Comer in 'The End We Start From' | Image by: FlixPix / Alamy Stock Photo

3 min read

This eerily relatable climate change drama – featuring a compelling performance from Jodie Comer as a new mother struggling to survive the aftermath of a catastrophic flood – is definitely worth a watch despite its flaws

If you have ever found yourself wondering what an apocalypse in London may be like to navigate while nine months pregnant, then look no further. From the outset of the film, the cinematography, crisp audio and compelling acting from Jodie Comer leave a superb sense of eerie relatability – highlighting in particular that giving birth in a flood-ravaged city is not one for the bucket list. With some graphic elements as we witness her welcoming her new bundle into the world, some of the early scenes are not for the faint-hearted.

Illuminating the fact that the climate crisis is in fact everyone’s challenge – not simply something that affects countries requiring a 10-hour plane journey to reach – The End We Start From takes us on the journey of one new mother as she is forced to leave home with her newborn baby and survive a humanitarian crisis on her doorstep.

Some of the early scenes are not for the faint-hearted

The drama feels particularly relatable when we see Comer and her husband, played by Joel Fry, attempt to flee northward with their baby and reach his parents. Queues of vehicles, filled with desperate occupants attempting to find higher ground, back up into the English countryside while scenes more synonymous with the developing world are transposed to places where we may have found ourselves previously enjoying a staycation.

Upon reaching her in-laws the film very much slows down. It is during this time that you may wish to get up, stretch your legs and take a comfort break as it takes an inordinate amount of time to proceed through the pleasure of grandparents meeting the new family addition, food to begin to run out and tragedy to strike.

The End We Start FromComer and her little bundle soon find themselves alone in a shelter, navigating dormitory-style sleeping packed full of occupants, resembling the Victoria line on a Monday morning. A strong bond is formed with another new mum, played by Katherine Waterson. Her character is the type that would seem infinitely more fun than Comer in NCT classes, however yet another twist of events suddenly finds them fleeing in search of a safe commune, run by her friend.

The journey to safety brings us Benedict Cumberbatch, a bearded bereaved dad of two, who has an unconvincing cameo. In all honesty, I found myself somewhat confused as to the purpose of his role. Those watching the film hoping to see much from him would, in my opinion, be disappointed. The scenery in the latter half of the film was utterly breathtaking and, though the story ends on a more positive note, it addresses some important questions about society, how it functions and presents Comer with a huge decision to make.

This is a film definitely worth a watch and indeed provided a great deal of food for thought. Personal take home messages include being grateful I had persevered with my Duke of Edinburgh’s award, a note to self to watch more Bear Grylls for a few handy post-apocalyptic survival tips – and slight panic every time it now rains heavily. 

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan is Labour MP for Tooting

The End We Start From
Directed: by Mahalia Belo
Venue: General cinema release

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