Saoirse Ronan (Hanna) stars in this adaptation of Meg Rosoff’s award-winning near-future novel about an American teenager sent to live with her family in Britain on the eve of the Third World War, directed by Kevin MacDonald (The Last King of Scotland).
How I Live Now
A Kevin Macdonald film puts its protagonist in peril and plunks you into the churning waters of the real world — all with bracing cinematic style. Films such as Touching the Void and The Last King of Scotland have proven how, even in very different registers, he delivers.
How I Live Now takes Macdonald into the realm of speculative fiction. Drawing on Meg Rosoff's prizewinning young-adult novel, this is the story of Daisy, a tough, blond punk (Saoirse Ronan) sent from her ultra-urban life in America to stay with distant relations in remote rural England. With her black t-shirt and eyebrow piercing she's immediately out of place, but that's the least of her worries. In this near-future, war has broken out, and as white ash falls from the skies and the military evacuates the cities, she's forced to depend on people she barely knows.
With the mesmerizing Ronan at its centre, How I Live Now soon develops into an engrossing character study set on the brink of apocalypse. As Daisy flees through dangerous territory seeking a return to safety, she reveals layer after layer, peeling back the brittle, city-girl exterior to show the complex, vulnerable young person beneath. In one disturbing scene, Macdonald shows the full extent of the war's impact, but what's most striking is how it registers on Ronan's face.
Its futuristic adventure plot and
strong lead may draw comparisons with
The Hunger Games. And though there are
points of resemblance, this film leans much
less on spectacle and more on probing
deeper into the mind and soul of a girl discovering
just what she's made of.