My opinion: 4 out of 5 stars
How I Live Now is the adult version of all these YA dystopian films arriving en masse to the cinema screens ever since Twilight revealed teens like to watch teenagers in fantasy/sci-fiction stories translated from books.
It’s hard-hitting, emotionally draining and grim, and even though there is a teen love story, its meshed between the horrors of a future World War 3. When I say horror, think Nazi films horror.
And therein lies its problem. It’s going to struggle to find an audience. Adults will find it difficult to identify with the teen love story, and teens won’t enjoy the exposure to the terrible drama surrounding the children. There are some scenes that left my friend and I quite devastated.
The feelings at our media screening were very mixed. A few of us enjoyed it—well not enjoyed, but found it interesting and absorbing—while others thought the story was problematic and couldn’t identify with the lead Daisy (Saoirse Ronan).
But director, Kevin McDonald (Last King of Scotland, State of Play) isn’t known for pulling punches, and he says true to that stance here. In a way, I am grateful for that. It’s good to watch non-homogenized stories sometimes. Go see this knowing it’s going to punch you in the emotional chest. And don’t take your tweens. It’s not that kind of love story.
STUDIO BLURB: Set in the near-future UK, Ronan plays Daisy, an American teenager sent to stay with relatives in the English countryside. Initially withdrawn and alienated, she begins to warm up to her charming surroundings, and strikes up a romance with the handsome Edmund (George MacKay). But on the fringes of their idyllic summer days are tense news reports of an escalating conflict in Europe. As the UK falls into a violent, chaotic military state, Daisy finds herself hiding and fighting to survive. (c) Magnolia