Is it the end of the world? Sometimes it really feels like it. Now imagine you’re 17, living in some English suburbia, smarter than the people around you want you to be, and completely f***ed up. If you can do that, or something close to it, then you can relate to this story.
“The End of the F***ing World” deftly walks the line between dark, dark comedy and teen coming of age drama. It is both daring and thoughtful, wild and oddly romantic. But most importantly, it’s truthful. Our lovers, James and Alyssa meet in high school, promptly insult each other and shortly thereafter run away together. It’s every teenagers’ dream and nightmare come true.
While on the road they cause, and sometimes just encounter a variety of horrible and tramatizing events. And it’s how they cope with them that’s most captivating. Alyssa’s character starts out as the alpha in the relationship, ordering James around, coming up with the plans, initiating all sexual overtures. She is running and taking him with her.
But as the story progresses James begins to find his own voice and what he’s longed for all along, to be Alyssa’s protector, turns out to be true. James who lives as an observer in his own life begins to take action, to make decisions, to want something other than death. Alyssa whose anger spurs her into action, begins to slow down and look around at what she has, James and her mother, and what she unfortunately has, an absent and completely selfish shit head of a father. She says,
“It’s much easier to think someone’s the answer
if you haven’t seen them for years, because they’re not really real.
People can’t be answers; they’re just more questions.”
Why couldn’t someone have told me that when I was 17? Ultimately our heroes learn how to see the truth of what they feel about the world, the people in it and themselves. That’s pretty good for only 17! I’m paraphrasing when I quote Alyssa as saying that the truth is like a stone in your stomach. Not one that’s there after you learn of it, but one that’s always been there. She’s brilliant.