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How I Live Now 2013 R CC

3.9 out of 5 stars (93) IMDb 6.5/10

Set in the near-future UK, Saoirse 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 Initially withdrawn and alienated, she begins to warm up to her charming surroundings and strikes up a romance with the handsome Edmund (George MacKay).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.

Starring:
Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland
Runtime:
1 hour, 41 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller, Romance
Director Kevin Macdonald
Starring Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland
Supporting actors George MacKay, Harley Bird, Danny McEvoy, Anna Chancellor, Jonathan Rugman, Corey Johnson, Darren Morfitt, Stella Gonet, Des McAleer, Sophie Stanton, Natasha Jonas, Nav Sidhu, Amy Dawson, Mark Stanley, Paul Ronan, Sabrina Dickens, Josh Dyer, Paul Fitzpatrick
Studio Magnolia Pictures
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Allaer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 11, 2013
Format: Amazon Video
"How I Live Now" (2013 release; 101 min.) is the film adaptation of the young adult novel of the same name written by Meg Rosoff. As the movie opens, we get to know a high school teenager named Elizabeth "but everyone calls me Daisy except my dad who's a [jerk]". (We later learn that Daisy's mom died while giving birth to Daisy, that her dad eventually remarried, and that Daisy hates both of them.) Daisy just landed in London where she is picked up by one of her cousins, and the plan is for Daisy to spend the summer with her 3 cousins and their mom in the English countryside far away from London. As it happens we hardly see their mom as she is always busy working at home or on business travel, and indeed soon the mom takes off for meetings in Geneva, thinking that someone she knows will watch over the kids. It takes a while for Daisy to adjust to her surroundings. In the meantime we also learn from TV coverage that there are significant incidents of fighting in Paris, and later in London where a nuclear device is set off, killing thousands. Mom's friend never shows up and the kids are left to fend for themselves. To tell you more of this plot-heavy movie would surely ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Several comments: first, this is actually two films in one. The first part of the film brings an idyllic view of how Daisy and her 3 British cousins are spending the summer far away from London and every other trouble spot, and in fact that part reminded me of "The Kings of Summer", another recent coming-of-age film. Then the movie turns into a true adventure film as Daisy and her youngest cousin Piper get separated from Eddie and Isaac, the other 2 cousins. It is never made clear who or what the violence and the pending war is all about.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If it's possible to be fascinated by a movie and confused by it at the same time, that was my reaction to "How I Live Now." You can find out the plot by reading most of the reviews, but I'll say the things that struck me are the attention to making the world seem like a children's playground before the war begins. That makes the nightmare that follows all the more significant. And I was truly grateful to see the lead actress make a transformation from annoying to caring in the film. (Boy, was she grating in the first 20 minutes.) This is one of those movies that will leave you thinking a lot of "what ifs" and maybe that's the point. The confusing part is you never actually know who are the bad guys in this movie. This includes whether the government is inflicting violence on its own people.
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Unlike one of the other reviewers, I didn't find anything endearing about the director's style. In fact, the movie seemed almost as though it had been filmed entirely with a handheld video camera. BUT, I really enjoyed the story.

"Daisy" is a 15 year old typical teenage girl... angry, hateful, and dealing with a lot of emotional issues that present themselves as an eating disorder. Her father has apparently started a new family, and sent her to England to spend a summer with her aunt and three cousins. It never says for sure, but I am under the impression that the Aunt was the sister of Daisy's mom, who had died during childbirth. But the Aunt is never around, and Daisy learns to fit in with her three cousins; Piper, the youngest of the three and the only girl, Isaac, the middle child and the only one whose age is actually known (14) and the attractive "Eddie", who is more of a parent to his siblings than their mother is.

When a Nuclear explosion occurs miles away in London, and their idyllic countryside becomes occupied by an unidentified military presence, the youngsters are left to fend for themselves. Daisy's aunt is away on business and the sitter never arrives. For a short time, the more-or-less orphaned kids become a solid family on their own, with Daisy and Eddie falling for each other, while caring for the younger children. The cousin romance angle is portrayed as both natural and innocent. But when war separates them, they must struggle against all odds to survive and find their way home.

A note for parents: There are some mild sexual situations, although they are not nearly as graphic as what is seen in most movies these days. There is some occasional strong language... not often, but when it's there, it's THERE. And there are some violent scenes which, like the sex and the language, are much milder than most movies, but still more than what younger children need to be watching.
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Format: DVD
The plot of HOW I LIVE NOW is straightforward: Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) comes over from the United States to stay with her British cousins, somewhere in the southwest of England. All of them become involved in a civil war that culminates in a nuclear blast that puts out all the power supplies and forces them to move from their farmhouse to the barn. Kevin Macdonald's film follows a LORD OF THE FLIES-type scenario, as it shows Daisy and the eldest boy Eddie (George MacKay) foraging for food for the rest of the family, while falling in love with one another. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when the army discovers the children's refuse and transports them to different camps; Daisy and the youngest child Piper (Harley Bird) are condemned to a life of repetitive labor in what looks like an extended allotment.

Although shot on a low budget, HOW I LIVE NOW gains much of its force from Macdonald's deliberate use of visual style, as he contrasts long lingering shots of the idyllic English countryside with much grimier sequences showing the effects of civil war. The scene where Daisy and Piper discover a heap of corpses on a deserted farm is genuinely disconcerting, as Macdonald uses a series of point-of-view shots to show Daisy's horrific realization that innocent children have been arbitrarily slaughtered. This sequence is intercut with repeated shots of Piper standing alone in a mud-covered yard, nervously looking about her in case something might happen. We have no idea at this point whether she will be added to the ever-increasing list of victims.
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