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Film Review: THE END WE START FROM (2023): Jodie Comer is in Top Form in a Survival Film Filled with Dramatic Tension

Baby Jodie Comer The End We Start From

The End We Start From Review

The End We Start From (2023) Film Review, a movie directed by Mahalia Belo, written by Alice Birch and Megan Hunter and starring Jodie Comer, Katherine Waterston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Fry, Ramanique Ahluwalia, Ruth Clarson, Ansu Kabia, Bolaji ‘BJ Kenny’ Kehinde, Gina McKee, Alexandria Riley, Maurice Sardison, Nina Sia, Mark Strong and Nina Sosanya.

Director Mahalia Belo’s powerful film, The End We Start From, is another disturbing disaster picture that, coming right on the heels of Leave the World Behind, also manages to make the viewer fearfully ask, “What if?” The two recent movies are very different but are structured around similar premises. The End We Start From stars Jodie Comer in a role that any dramatic actress would be excited to play. That’s because the required emotions of the main character are so pivotal to the movie’s success.

This film’s story line imagines a world where a devastating environmental scenario forces a new mother (Comer) to evacuate her flooded London home in search of secure shelter for her and her child. Seeking safe living conditions with food for her and her child becomes the mom’s utmost concern.

Joel Fry stars in the movie as Comer’s character’s partner, R. Fry seems a bit odd as a casting choice for this picture. He plays the frightened and frail husband of Comer’s character well, but there are major character trait differences between the partners which may make the viewer question the authenticity of the choice to cast Fry in the part. R is the father of the baby that Comer is fighting to protect throughout the movie. Interspersed into the movie are flashbacks of the first encounter between Fry and Comer’s characters and while Comer is good in these scenes, they lack full credibility. That has a lot to do with the writing of Fry’s character. In real life, it’s unlikely these two would have made it past a couple of dates together.

Katherine Waterston plays another mother that Comer’s character meets and befriends at a shelter. They become close friends as they get to know one another while taking care of their babies under very uncomfortable circumstances. Waterston is great in her genuinely intriguing role here. Her character is full of passion and sincerity and makes a suitable companion to Comer’s character in the film. When they sing a song from Dirty Dancing together, it’s a bright moment in a movie that so desperately needs this sort of comic relief due to its very somber overall tone.

Benedict Cumberbatch appears in what is basically a glorified cameo in the movie. Cumberbatch’s character, AB, assists our two ladies (so well played by the chosen actresses) when they stumble upon his home. Cumberbatch has comfortable living conditions and, in one of the film’s best scenes, the three adults dance and display their own version of expression through dance amidst the chaos they are facing in the unpredictable new world.

Filmmaker Belo creates a frighteningly plausible situation in the film. There are a number of elements which successfully hold this movie up to the standards a disaster picture needs to be measured by. A sequence where Comer’s scared mom steals a car to help her child escape is quite authentic and adds to the overall intensity of the movie. The structure of the film, which integrates flashbacks of Comer’s and Fry’s characters’ relationship, is the weakest part but necessary to sustain interest on whether or not the pair of lovers will be reunited after they separate under scary circumstances.

A lot of the supporting cast members are painfully underused. Fry and Cumberbatch are examples of actors whose characters needed to be fleshed out a bit more. Though Cumberbatch’s character initially seems suspicious, this notion is soon dropped in favor of making him more socially acceptable. Even Comer’s interaction with a bird late in the movie has more substance than her moments with Cumberbatch.

Comer carries this movie from beginning to end with the support of the always reliable Waterston in the scenes in which they appear together. Comer is essentially the whole show and the actress succeeds and then some with one of her meatier roles to date. It’s night and day when comparing her role in this movie to her one in the comedy, Free Guy. Comer is fine in both movies but her range is what makes her so special as an actress. Comer makes her role in the new picture stand out significantly from other films she has done.

This movie is essentially a grueling survival story made palatable by the fact that Comer is extremely easy to sympathize with. Another actress may not have given us that plausibility factor which is crucial to making the film work. Her interaction with the babies who play her child is also very moving and demonstrative of Comer’s character’s desire to be there for her baby even in the worst of circumstances. Fry’s character runs while Comer’s character stays with the baby and faces the fire head on. Belo’s direction rarely hits a false note when the scenes specifically focus on Comer’s character. In the end, The End We Start From is a thought-provoking and earnest film which is definitely worth seeing.

Rating: 7.5/10

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