Review: End-O

Directed by Alice Seabright and written by Elaine Gracie, Jaq (Sophia Di Martino) is a typical young woman, navigating the foibles of life, love and endometriosis in this stinging black comedy. Also starring: Lisa Jackson, Amit Shah and Bart Edwards.

This film is probably going to be more enjoyable and relatable for anyone who is familiar with endometriosis but considering 1 in 10 women suffer with it, it’s likely you know someone who’s dealt with it. The decision to tackle it in film form was a brave choice, it isn’t going to work for everyone, mostly men because there’s still a huge culture of squeamishness when talking about periods. Considering that the condition affects such a huge amount of women in varying degrees, it’s rarely mentioned in media and it’s delightful to see these filmmakers taking it on. For anyone completely unfamiliar, to put it into context, it’s horribly painful, excruciatingly uncomfortable and one of the biggest, unrelenting inconveniences that a woman can experience. All of that said, you might think that this film was going to be depressing but it isn’t in the slightest, it’s sharply funny and fantastic observational humour.

Di Martino is an extremely well chosen lead, she can so swiftly and smoothly land a blunt comedic line and her very expressive manner adds to that even more, deftly making her character come across as sympathetic and quick witted. Having Jackson playing her sister makes for a great duo, they work really well off of each other, they have a great bantering chemistry. The sisterly bond between the two leads is a cherry on top of the humour, their back and forth may be very British and sarcastic but there’s moving moments that show just how much they truly care for one another. The utterly real and down to earth comedy feels reminiscent of Gillian Robespierre’s Obvious Child, there’s no obligation to trim things to only show the rosy side or try to pretend that women are infallible. It’s a very modern example of how life can be messy, unpredictable and a little cruel.

It’s a satisfying experience to watch women being portrayed in an honest manner, to be represented onscreen in a way that’s realistic and uninhibited. This film will certainly cut close to home for many women and gives a real opportunity for anyone who’s dealt with problems with reproductive health to feel seen. However, the edible depiction of the female system at the beginning of the film is hilariously disturbing, especially when it’s used as a very visual metaphor of the pain the character is experiencing. It’s touches like that which hone the gritty comedy being used, complimenting the shrewd writing and on point acting superbly.

End-O is funny, sharp, dark and thoroughly relatable and yet beside that humour there’s a poignant comment about how women’s health is handled, the lack of interest from doctors and the disparity between quick fixes and invasive solutions. It’s the perfect storm of entertainment and commentary, it may open some eyes into a consistently ignored condition that runs rampant among generations of women and you’ll have a good laugh along the way.

Verdict: ✯✯✯

End-O is screening as part of London Film Festival’s ‘Push the Button’

on the 10th & 12th October

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