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How I Live Now, combines a weakly done romance with a World War III type background.
Review (with Spoilers)
To be completely honest the sole reason I saw this film was Saoirse Ronan. After Byzantium, I must admit I sort of saw her as perhaps one of the few actresses who didn’t really fit being “The Next …” At the same time, though, I was just hoping the trailer didn’t speak for the quality of the movie. Unfortunately, though, it did.
Characters and Story
For the movie, our lead character is Daisy (played by Saoirse Ronan) who begins as an annoying American who as time goes on we learn has some sort of anxiety issue. This issue, which she takes medicine for, leads her to pushing people away in order to not participate. However, a young man named Edmond (played by George MacKay) changes all that. Her attraction to him, and his saliva, seems to bring out a more open and kinder girl. Then terrorist hit London and send the film into war mode.
With this, the boys and girls are separated and Daisy ends up stuck with her little cousin Piper (played by Harley Bird) who is this sweet and eccentric little thing, but at the same time a child who grew up in a slightly neglectful household. Still, despite Daisy being quite mean to her in the beginning, Daisy makes sure that after they are taken, they will go back to Piper’s home where she is supposed to reconnect with Eddie. This leads to Ronan bringing out her inner Hanna and getting the two home, but not without seeing some horrors on the way.
To be honest, there isn’t a lot to praise about this movie. I must admit, I did like the idea of Daisy having anxiety and that helping to explain why her character was so obnoxious, but after awhile it seemed like they sort of dropped that angle and then picked it back up when convenient. But perhaps a decent amount of praise should go to Harley Bird for often little kids in most visual media are liabilities or one of the best of the film. Luckily for How I Live Now, Bird’s character Piper is more than just a little eccentric kid tagging along and causing mischief. She helps bring a likeable side to Daisy, outside of what Edmond brings, and through each other, we get to see both characters evolve a little bit. Daisy in terms of what makes her think she is unworthy and a curse, as well as seeing the effects of Piper’s mom who is so busy with her work that her children are sort of neglected.
At the same time, though, this film does not play out well. Don’t get me wrong, it has its moments of sweetness, but at the same time the romance is rushed and doesn’t have a good build. It goes from her attacking him, then him showing her a hint of kindness, and then soon they are making out and seemingly having sex. Not to say that perhaps with the circumstance of World War III I entirely blame the two, but this film is definitely nowhere near a film like Life is Beautiful which handles the idea of romance and war, in the same movie, so much better. Perhaps the worst thing though is the film is boring. I walked away from it a few times and it is mostly due to the script overall. Ronan as a seemingly stereotypical American just makes you roll your eyes, and at times I did wish Bird’s Piper was the focus of the story she could have had was more appealing to me.
Overall: TV Viewing
Though certainly not the best film out there, it surely isn’t the worst. If you are a fan of Ronan you will be slightly disappointed, but not so much that you feel like it may be time to turn your back on her. This film just suffers from trying to do too much at once and it just doesn’t coordinate well in the long run. Plus, if you have seen other films which balance having a plot with romance and war, this film looks even worse. Still, though, I think this is worth TV viewing, or watching OnDemand when you’re bored on a Sunday and have nothing better to watch.