The film adaptation of ‘The End We Start From’ written by Hughes Hall By-Fellow, Megan Hunter, receives critical acclaim.
Megan, who joined Hughes Hall in 2014 and worked with our Fellowship and Development Offices in the years that followed, is now a By-Fellow; the college has followed her fantastic writing career with great interest.
The End We Start From is released in UK cinemas on 19 January 24 and is the adaptation of Megan’s first book which was published in hardback in 2017 in the UK, US, and Canada, and has been translated into seven languages. It hit cinemas in the US in December, receiving great reviews.
The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw describes the adaptation this week as a “a post-apocalyptic drama of survival, a fiercely acted and unnerving real-time demonstration of law and order breaking down…this film is a very British world-ending”.
It stars Jodie Comer and Joel Fry as the new parents of a baby born into the midst of a global climate catastrophe; as the soon-to-be-mother’s waters break so the heavy rain reaches crisis point. The supporting cast includes Katherine Waterson, Benedict Cumberbatch and Gina McKee.
The disaster sees London overwhelmed by flood waters as the young family struggles to survive in the ensuing chaos. There is a very poignant juxtaposition of the intimate and emotional struggles (and joys) of new motherhood against the backdrop of widespread and violent struggles for survival.
As the Independent’s Clarisse Loughrey notes, this is a disaster movie of sorts but with women at the centre of the film – and the filmmaking. The female author (Hunter), screenwriter (Alice Birch), director (Mahalia Belo) and lead (Jodie Comer) “breathe life and fire into the mothers typically left stagnant on the apocalypse’s sidelines…We find a woman faced with the monstrous world she’s created for her child, afraid that love will never be enough to conquer it.”
And, of course the film’s main theme – climate crisis – couldn’t be more topical or timely, providing an interesting symmetry between the writer’s college, Hughes Hall, and the college’s global leadership in climate policy, law and engagement. As noted in the Guardian: “So many people imagine the effects of climate disaster in only the most abstract terms, and don’t grasp that it means fire and flood”. Quite so – as our leaders in climate engagement striving to take the responsibility of addressing the climate crisis to the boardroom, and the policymakers, would agree.
There are, of course, lots of ways to change the world!
Megan Hunter will be doing a Q&A at Cambridge Arts Picturehouse after a screening of the new film adaptation of her book, The End We Start From, on 29th January 2024. Click here to Book tickets.
The book is compared to Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’ and JG Ballard’s ‘The Drowned World’. It was shortlisted for Novel of the Year at the 2017 Books Are My Bag Readers Awards, longlisted for the Aspen Words Prize, was a Barnes and Noble Discover Awards finalist and won the Forward Reviews Editor’s Choice Award. It was published in paperback in 2018 and was Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month for May.
Megan was born in Manchester and studied English Literature at Sussex and Cambridge. Her writing has appeared in publications including the TLS, Literary Hub and The White Review.