Film Review – How I Live Now (2013)

How I live now - post

Title – How I Live Now (2013)

Director – Kevin Macdonald (Touching the Void)

Cast – Saoirse Ronan, George MacKay, Tom Holland, Harley Bird

Plot – American teenager Daisy (Ronan) is sent to England to be with her relatives where she falls for Eddie (MacKay) as a world war threatens to break out around them and a country torn into chaos separates two lives that have become one.

 “Mum’s in Switzerland. Nothing ever happens in Switzerland”

 Review by Eddie on 10/04/2014

Oh Kevin Macdonald what have you done! For a man who has given us the cinematic treasure that is Touching the Void and the high standard dramas in the form of The Last King of Scotland and State of Play it becomes quite bewildering to think that he has now also given us this pulse-less and pathetic attempt of a film in the form of How I Live Now.

A deserved box office and critical dud upon release this adaptation of Meg Rossoff’s somewhat famous book of the same name is such a wasted opportunity to produce something meaningful that you must wonder where it all went so horribly wrong. There is nothing instantly wrong with Kevin Macdonald’s direction but upon reflection there is also not much good about it either. Macdonald directs in a very workmanlike effort that features one stand out scene at a picnic, which goes to showcase the film could have been something very scary and also very real yet quickly falls into unbelievable incest romance with two wholly uninteresting teenagers and unlikeable teenagers.

Saoirse Ronan has consistently shown herself to be a fine young actress and in How I Live Now she still can hold her head high despite being given a horrible character to portray. Ronan’s Daisy is an annoying type of character and her quick falling in love with cousin Eddie is so rushed and forced you’ll have to think twice about if your actually witnessing some type of black comedy instead of weighty romance/drama lampooning in the very real setting of a World War 3 scenario. MacKay as love interest Eddie doesn’t fare very well with his acting and attributes as a character not really making any significant mark. While these characters in the film are quite weak the actual story feels forced and contrived also, a sense of dread is never fully formed and the weight of what has occurred at these children’s doorstep is also not fully felt.

A lame dead in the water movie, How I Live Now is an appealing film for those teenagers that think Tomorrow When the War Began is classic filmmaking and for those that can’t get enough of unbelievable teen romances, but for the rest of us it’s a torrid journey that a fine filmmaker like Kevin Macdonald should of made a better go at.

1 concrete road pillar out of 5

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16 responses to “Film Review – How I Live Now (2013)

  1. Good review Eddie. It’s change in pace and tone that occurs halfway through made the film more interesting. Everything before though, was just really sappy.

  2. “How I Live Now is an appealing film for those teenagers that think Tomorrow When the War Began is classic filmmaking and for those that can’t get enough of unbelievable teen romances”

    LOL, so, so true. I’m going to copy that line and use it to describe all future YA book adaptations.

    I watched Captain America 2 with my younger sister (12 years old) over the weekend and she said it was the best superhero movie (and also one of the best movies ever) she had ever watched.

    I wasn’t that impressed with the movie and asked her, “have you seen The Dark Knight?”.

    She said, “No. It looks boring.”

    At that point, I shook my head and walked away in sad disappointment.

  3. It was a mediocre film at best, and to be quite honest it left a bad taste in my mouth. It made an attempt to make me feel something, but the romance aspect of it made this movie a waste of my time.

  4. I think I liked this one a bit more than you. I thought there were some genuinely interesting moments, but the film did need more of them. As you say Ronan holds her own again and it’s looking like she has a strong career ahead.

  5. Thanks for the insightful review. Darn, I really like that girl, Miss Saoirse, and have followed her career. Well, everyone gets in a bomb now and then. Thanks for giving me the “oomph” to get this dog out of my queue! Take care!

  6. Neither of my kids liked the book, it has to be said. They found it distant and a bit weird rather than wrenching and apocalyptic. Having said that, the book is acclaimed and just wondering how it could all go so wrong?

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