How I Live Now REVIEW

How I Live Now film review.

Release Date: 4 October 2013
15 | 101 minutes
Distributor: Eone Entertainment
Director: Kevin MacDonald
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, George MacKay, Tom Holland, Harley Bird, Anna Chancellor

The Hunger Games meets Children Of Men in The Last King Of Scotland director Kevin MacDonald’s adap of Meg Rosoff’s YA novel.

Saoirse Ronan plays stroppy American teen Daisy, shipped over to stay in the countryside idyll of her British cousins. Initially cold and dismissive, the healing power of nature and a burgeoning love affair with her oldest cousin Edmond (George MacKay) thaws Daisy… then suddenly World War III breaks out and everything goes to shit. The sun-kissed romance of the first half is shattered and replaced with a dirty, dystopian world of violence and terror.

Brave, taboo-breaking, but tonally jarring, How I Live Now feels honest and weighty compared to much YA fare, confronting what could be the realities of an unspecified war – military rule, evacuation, shortages of food and power – but it may struggle to find an audience. The first half’s too soppy for adults, the second too harrowing for young teens – not only is there the uncomfortable set-up of first cousins having sex, but major characters (including children) are killed. There’s none of the gloss of Twilight; indeed, one sequence, which has Daisy searching through a mass open grave, delivers a Schindler’s List-esque gut punch.

Packed with integrity but not likely cash cow franchise potential, it’s a refreshing miss-hit more interested in challenging than indulging its audience.

Rosie Fletcher

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