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