Saoirse Ronan gives another amazing performance as a young woman, Daisy, rebelling against society but trapped by her own rules. Directed by Kevin Macdonald, How I Live Now, is photographed beautifully in rural England and Wales. This is a tale of adolescents left to raise themselves in the beautiful countryside. The theme of military oppression and impending war is a little heavily enforced but the children and young adults give realistic performances and the change from bitter goth girl to young lady in love, is handled nicely. Her romantic interest, her cousin, played by George MacKay, is presented as the strong, silent type and given a hawk and a handsome sweater to set off his good looks–again, a tad over-the-top, but it’s nice to have a little romance before the world starts unraveling.
The film runs a little long and the hazardous journey the two girls undertake is the least convincing part of the film. Are all the men is this film either rule-abiding and enforcing citizens with no love of children or rampaging, murderous rapists? There are no examples of any rational adults save Daisy’s aunt, who still abandons the children to fly to Geneva.
How I Live Now is scary and has moments of violence but is worth seeing for Saoirse Ronan and George MacKay‘s performances and the lovely cinematography. The young actress playing the much-abused little sister, Piper, has a few nice moments and the soundtrack is outstanding! How I Live Now is a good warm-up to another film about a totalitarian society featuring a young heroine….I believe it’s part of a trilogy…
Bechdel Rating: though the conversation with her Aunt is brief, it doesn’t concern her male cousin but her deceased mother and Daisy does finally come around to nurturing Piper. A-
Rating: Clean water is scarce in the film so 3 glasses of pure water