How I Live Now

November 10th, 2013


How I Live Now

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An American girl sent to the English countryside to stay with relatives finds herself fighting for her survival as the UK turns into a violent military state.

Release Year: 2013

Rating: 6.4/10 (665 voted)

Critic's Score: 58/100

Director: Kevin Macdonald

Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland, George MacKay

An American girl sent to the English countryside to stay with relatives finds herself fighting for her survival as the UK turns into a violent military state.

Writers: Jeremy Brock, Tony Grisoni

Saoirse Ronan - Daisy
Tom Holland - Isaac
George MacKay - Eddie
Harley Bird - Piper
Danny McEvoy - Joe
Anna Chancellor - Aunt Penn
Jonathan Rugman - News Reporter
Corey Johnson - Consular Official
Darren Morfitt - Sergeant
Stella Gonet - Mrs. McEvoy
Des McAleer - Major McEvoy
Sophie Stanton - Woman in Truck
Natasha Jonas - Woman in Truck
Nav Sidhu - Checkpoint Soldier
Amy Dawson - Beaten Woman

Taglines: Love will lead you home.


Official Website: Official site

Country: UK

Language: English

Release Date: 4 October 2013

Filming Locations: Wales, UK

Technical Specs


User Review


Rating: 10/10

Of all the movies I've seen, this is up there with the best. It's perfect in its variations of tone, from the lyrical to the grisly, and paced so that I never failed to be engaged with it. It avoids being over-elaborate or over-clever.

We are drawn in by comedy. Stroppy American teenager Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) flies in to stay with her English cousins and so far as she's concerned, she's landed in Hicksville. They live a carefree, mostly adult-free existence in a ramshackle farmhouse with animals all over the place, unwashed crockery and a casual approach to eating. Just what you want when you've got OCD, food fads and medication.

Determined to sulk in her room, she is eventually drawn out and succumbs to the warmth of her cousins, 14-year-old Isaac (Tom Holland), younger sister Piper (Harley Bird) and older brother Edmond (George MacKay}.

But in the background there are rumblings, particularly of a nuclear bomb which has been detonated in London. In the foreground, Daisy's and Edmond's hormones are rumbling.

The sex scene, when it comes, is how it should be done: lovely without being too explicit, too long or salacious.

That's followed by soldiers arriving, guns blazing, to impose martial law. Boys and girls are split up to be taken to separate camps, but Edmond and Daisy vow to be reunited.

Daisy's escape is a grim survival scenario in which she has to practically force-march Piper to exhaustion through a landscape beset with dangers, particularly for vulnerable females of any age. Who will survive?

The acting? Well, there's acting, good acting and acting so good that you forget that it's acting, and Ronan's and Bird's acting both come into this last category. I was totally absorbed in their journey. It's very, very rare for me to lose my sense of detachment when I'm watching a film but I did here.

Few people have doubted Ronan's ability since her impressive performance as the 13-year-old Briony Tallis in Atonement. However, I've sometimes felt that she has been the victim of a misguided director (Peter Jackson in The Lovely Bones) or a substandard screenplay (The Host). I've often wondered when she would get more material worthy of her talent. Well, boy, has she hit the jackpot this time.

Director Kevin Macdonald did everything he had to do to get the story across without any of those irritating "look what a wonderful director I am" flourishes.

People will inevitably draw comparisons with Meg Rosoff's novel, which I haven't read, or other films in this "genre". How I detest the pretentious overuse of that word. This film was enough for me and if you don't think it measures up to your precious novel or your precious genre that's your problem, not mine.


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