At an unknown point in the near future, a woman is giving birth. As her contractions start, her home in London is flooded and, as her baby is born, it becomes clear that a climate catastrophe of biblical proportions has begun. A sea of water invades the city as the woman takes her first postpartum, post-apocalyptic pee, then flees for higher ground with her newborn in a car seat.
The End We Start From
This is the premise of the new survival film “The End We Start From,” starring the British actor Jodie Comer, which delves into the challenges of motherhood in the face of a world-altering crisis. The film features a star-studded cast, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Fry, Gina McKee, Nina Sosanya, and Mark Strong, all of whom contribute to the poignant narrative alongside Comer.
A Mother's Imagination and Climate Catastrophe
Megan Hunter, the author of the novel that the film is based on, drew inspiration from her own apocalyptic imagination and experiences of motherhood. As a mother of two, she found herself writing poetry and short stories about the profound journey of motherhood, which eventually led her to conceive a story about a woman giving birth in a future plagued by a climate disaster. For Hunter, the intertwining of these themes felt inevitable, allowing her to capture the emotional and intimate aspects of motherhood in the midst of a global crisis.
Relevance to the Contemporary World
The release of the film aligns with alarming scientific warnings about the escalating impact of climate change, with record levels of heat being absorbed by the world’s oceans. Hunter’s prescience in addressing rising sea levels nearly a decade ago now reflects the contemporary relevance and urgency of the climate crisis
, making the narrative all the more poignant.
The Emotional Intersection of Motherhood and Climate Catastrophe
By juxtaposing the global climate catastrophe with the deeply personal experience of motherhood, Hunter deliberately weaves a narrative that resonates on an emotional level. The pivotal moment of the protagonist’s waters breaking and the concurrent flood serves as a powerful metaphor for the overwhelming nature of these events, saturating the entire film with water and evoking a visceral connection to the natural world.
A Cinematic Discourse on Climate Crisis
The film portrays magnificent shots of Comer’s character navigating a flooded London with her baby, symbolizing the profound impact of the climate crisis on human life, while also emphasizing the delicate connection between humankind and nature. The inclusion of emotionally charged scenes, such as the protagonist’s surreal return to the water and her cathartic release, underscores the film’s aim to engage viewers in a thought-provoking exploration of the climate crisis.
Female Friendship and Resilience
One of the film’s most compelling aspects is the portrayal of the bond formed between Comer’s character and another new mother, highlighting the power of female friendship in the face of unimaginable challenges. This unique portrayal emphasizes the importance of solidarity and support in tackling adversity, offering a refreshing perspective within the genre of apocalyptic narratives.
Grounding the Climate Emergency in Personal Experience
The use of 15 babies to depict the development of the child, Zeb, amidst a world in turmoil serves to emphasize the passage of time and the enduring nature of life, even in the face of catastrophic events. By grounding the climate emergency in personal experience, the film aims to humanize the crisis, conveying that it is not merely a piece of news or data but a deeply affecting reality.
The Resilience of Parenthood
The protagonist’s journey reflects the vulnerability and strength inherent in parenthood, as she navigates the tumultuous landscape to ensure the survival of her child. Despite the overwhelming challenges, parenthood becomes a source of resilience, driving her to persevere in the face of adversity and ultimately shaping a narrative of love amidst desolation.
A Story of Love and Resilience
Ultimately, “The End We Start From” is a story about love, resonating through the unyielding bonds of motherhood, partnership, friendship, and community. In the midst of an apocalypse, the narrative reverberates with the enduring power of love and human connection, offering a poignant portrayal of resilience in the face of unprecedented adversity.
In conclusion, the film traverses the delicate terrain of motherhood amidst a world teetering on the brink of catastrophe, weaving a narrative that seeks to engender an emotional and visceral response to the climate crisis. By intertwining the deeply personal experiences of its characters with the existential threat of climate catastrophe, “The End We Start From” implores audiences to confront the realities of the present world and the imperative for collective action.
Apocalyptic Books: A Mirror to Our Climate Emergency Crisis
Apocalyptic and dystopian literature has long been a mirror of society, reflecting our greatest fears and concerns about the future. The urgency of the climate emergency is a central theme in these books, serving as a wake-up call to the dire consequences of our actions. In this article, we delve into the impactful messages conveyed by apocalyptic novels and explore their relevance in the current climate crisis.
The End We Start From: A Tale of Urgency
Megan Hunter’s “The End We Start From” serves as a poignant reminder of the pressing need to address the climate emergency. The novel sheds light on the consequences of overconsumption, fossil fuel reliance, and unchecked capitalism, portraying a world on the brink of collapse. Hunter’s compelling narrative underscores the importance of acknowledging the current state of crisis and mobilizing efforts to forge a new future. Through its stark portrayal of a post-apocalyptic world, the novel urges individuals to recognize the gravity of the climate emergency and take decisive action to avert a catastrophic end.
Other Apocalyptic Books Adapted into Films
Apocalyptic literature has been a rich source of inspiration for filmmakers, with several notable works being adapted into compelling cinematic experiences.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)
McCarthy’s “The Road” encapsulates the harrowing journey of a father and son traversing a desolate, post-apocalyptic landscape in pursuit of survival. The absence of flora and fauna, coupled with the pervasive desolation, serves as a chilling portrayal of environmental devastation. The subsequent film adaptation, although praised for its transformative narrative, garnered mixed reviews, emphasizing the challenges of capturing the depth of the novel’s impact on the silver screen.
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam (2020)
Rumaan Alam’s “Leave the World Behind” delves into the unsettling disruptions that unfold during a family’s vacation, hinting at a widespread calamity shrouded in uncertainty. The novel’s exploration of class dynamics, racial tensions, and parental anxieties within the backdrop of an impending crisis resonates with contemporary societal concerns. The film adaptation, featuring acclaimed actors, received accolades for its gripping portrayal of the unfolding thriller, underscoring the enduring relevance of apocalyptic narratives in cinema.
The Children of Men by PD James (1992)
In PD James’s “The Children of Men,” the narrative unfurls against the backdrop of a dystopian England plagued by infertility and a dwindling population. The societal repercussions of this reproductive crisis, coupled with themes of power struggle and clandestine revelations, offer a thought-provoking examination of humanity’s vulnerability. The subsequent film adaptation, lauded for its stellar performances, adeptly brought to life the novel’s gripping portrayal of a world teetering on the brink of extinction.
Conclusion: Embracing the Urgency of Action
Apocalyptic literature, through its evocative narratives and profound themes, compels us to confront the realities of the climate emergency. These works serve as poignant reminders of the consequences of inaction and the imperative of proactive measures to safeguard our planet’s future. As we immerse ourselves in these compelling narratives, we are prompted to embrace the urgency of addressing the climate crisis and collectively strive to forge a sustainable and resilient future for generations to come.