Climate change knows no borders. Yet it’s still something of a shock to see London become its latest victim in this apocalyptic drama from director Mahalia Belo, making her feature debut. The End We Start From sees rising flood waters send residents scurrying out of the UK capital in an increasingly desperate search for sustenance and shelter.
Among the affected is an unnamed woman (played by Jodie Comer) who’s had a baby with her partner (Joel Fry) just as the world starts to crumble around her. The man’s mum and dad (Nina Sosanya, Mark Strong) offer an immediate safe haven.
Yet when that too becomes compromised, the family decides to head further north – first to a government-run encampment where only Comer’s character and her baby are admitted, and from there to a commune in the Orkneys, where friendship with another young mother (Katherine Waterston) supplies some fleeting respite from their stark new reality.
Adapted by Alice Birch (The Wonder, Normal People) from Megan Hunter’s 2017 novel of the same name, The End We Start From eschews epic special effects in favor of an intimate, close-up immediacy. There’s a rueful matter-of-factness to how things disintegrate so rapidly, while Fry’s struggle to cope under pressure resonantly suggests it will be the women who’ll do the rebuilding in whatever grim future awaits us.
A brief cameo from producer Benedict Cumberbatch provides some additional mid-film star wattage. Yet who needs it when you have Comer, a force of nature to rival any city-swamping deluge?
The End We Start From is in UK and US cinemas from January 19.
Here are all of the other upcoming movies releasing in 2024 and beyond.