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Written By:

Paul Mount

Jodie Comer delivers a powerful performance as a young mother who will do anything to protect her newborn child as a terrible ecological disaster sends her on a dispiriting journey through a grey, desolate, rain-sodden landscape in Mahalia Belo’s gripping adaptation of Megan Hunter’s brief but haunting 2017 novel. Comer plays a character we know only as Woman, patiently waiting to give birth in the London home she shares with her husband R (the excellent Joel Fry). Biblical storms are battering the country, and when the house is flooded, the pair rush to the hospital, and it’s not long before Mother’s own waters are breaking and the baby is born. The pair flee the beleaguered city for the apparent safety of the farm owned by R’s parents (Mark Strong and Nina Sosanya), but soon, events overtake them, and they’re forced to take to the road again in search of sanctuary and safety.

The End We Start From is a gruelling watch at times, often disorientating as it relies heavily on striking visuals rather than heavy dialogue. The countryside through which Mother travels is cold and unwelcoming, and sometimes the people she meets are less than kind – human nature at its basest – but when she meets up with Benedict Cumberbatch’s grieving AB, the real themes of the film emerge like the sun peeking out from constant rainclouds. This is a film about family, survival, the importance of home, and fighting to save everything you believe in. The film’s budget undermines its attempts to depict the rain-lashed country, but ultimately, The End We Start From is about so much more than the disaster; it’s about living through it and prevailing. An interesting contemporary companion piece to Cornel Wilde’s gritty, distressing 1970 dystopia No Blade of Grass.


THE END WE START FROM is still in UK cinemas.

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