Posted by admin on January 16, 2024

This is the year Jodie Comer becomes a bona fide movie star. Since her Emmy and Bafta-winning role as Villanelle in Killing Eve catapulted her into the big leagues, Comer has become one of the planet’s hottest acting properties.

At every new turn, Comer showcases her remarkable ability to transform and enhances her reputation further. If Killing Eve gave her the platform to explore her range and ability with accents in one incredible role, then Comer’s West End debut in hard-hitting solo drama Prima Facie confirmed she was in it for the long term.

The show transferred to Broadway, netting her a Tony Award to go with her Olivier, as Comer’s powerful performance as a lawyer navigating the misogyny of the legal system from the other side of the bench left audiences spellbound.

Before that, there were rave reviews for the hardcore realism of Jack Thorne’s Channel 4 pandemic drama Help, in which she played a care worker during the Covid crisis alongside friend and mentor Stephen Graham.

A pattern is starting to form around Jodie Comer’s career. Scripts of the highest quality, the very best collaborators, and work that speaks to important issues.

Another starring role in new independent British film The End We Start From confirms her as a talent for the ages.

“Ultimately, it’s a story about motherhood set within the midst of a climate crisis,” says Comer, when talking to The Big Issue via Zoom from London just before a well-earned Christmas break.

The End We Start From, adapted by Alice Birch from Megan Hunter’s novel and directed by Mahalia Belo, is a film of rare, raw power and poetry.

At its heart is Woman, played by Comer – the action moves too fast for us to be properly introduced, the only character with a name is baby Zeb. We meet Woman on the verge of bringing new life into a wild world in which the climate emergency is wreaking havoc in this country.

Extreme weather sees flood waters rising as Woman’s waters break. After giving birth to baby Zeb, Woman and her husband (Joel Fry) are forced to flee the comforts of their beautiful London home.

From there, it is a story of survival. The joy and anxiety of the extraordinary, intimate early days of motherhood are set against a gradual and entirely believable societal breakdown.

“I felt the exploration of that environmental crisis was unique,” says Comer. “We were exploring on a very human level, which really moved me – a lot more than a lot of films we’ve seen that maybe depict these kinds of happenings.”

The dialogue and intimate moments and exploration of Woman’s body were so clear on the page – and I felt so special, being able to do this

Jodie Comer

This is a depiction of early motherhood like none other in recent times. Raw, visceral, isolating and at times terrifying – with snatched moments of pure joy punctuating the climate chaos all around her.

“Not being a mother myself, I really want women to watch this and see themselves depicted in a truthful light,” says Comer.

“The dialogue and intimate moments and exploration of Woman’s body were so clear on the page – and I felt so special, being able to do this.

“The relationship women have with their body after they have a baby and how they feel transformed and there’s a part of their selves that is lost – we really explore that. And she’s going through all this in the midst of an environmental catastrophe.”

Apocalypse soon

The environmental crisis is not played out in the usual action film way. This feels like it could be set tomorrow. And it could be any one of us. It is up-close and intimate, entirely believable, the logic of the progression from leaving homes and cities as waters rise to finding safer spaces further out (as villages start closing their borders to outsiders), the refuge proving temporary as food scarcity hits, families are split, and people congregate in camps.

There are no major set piece scenes with Big Ben toppling into the Thames to tell the story. Instead, there is an evolving sense of dread as Woman navigates a world in crisis, fiercely focused on her new baby. It will resonate. Loudly. As versions of current global crises are shown on our doorstep.

At one point, Woman is forced to wait for a small boat to take her to a small island offering sanctuary. This film offers multiple new ways to look at the biggest issues in the world we are living in and to question our responses.

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“And the baby doesn’t know any different,” adds Comer. “They’re experiencing the world for the first time – all those revelations where everything is so sensory and so new. That provides such relief for Woman in moments, because she can’t help but find joy or ecstasy in a smile or a new noise he’s making.”

For screenwriter Alice Birch, whose previous work includes Florence Pugh’s brilliant breakout film role in Lady Macbeth and BBC One lockdown smash Normal People, this was highly relatable.

“Most of my work is interested in and engaged with women. I read the book just after I’d had my first child,” she says.

“The way motherhood and those early days were articulated in this kind of savage but poetic language, I found really moving.

“To have that told alongside this climate catastrophe felt like a frighteningly realistic portrayal of what that could be if it were to happen tomorrow. This is not some massive disaster film – it’s a bit more banal and soggy.

“I wrote the first draft during the first lockdown with my second tiny baby. So it was quite a heady experience and felt very within reach. Some of the state I was in definitely made it into the draft.”

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