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How I Live Now - A Review by InkyBlueMind

Updated on May 16, 2014

Writing Credits

Jeremy Brock
Tony Grisoni
Meg Rosoff
(based on the novel by)
Penelope Skinner
Jack Thorne
(additional material)
More at IMDB: x

Main Cast

Saoirse Ronan
Tom Holland
George MacKay
Harley Bird
Danny McEvoy
Anna Chancellor
Aunt Penn

How I Live Now - Trailer

How I Live Now - A Review by InkyBlueMind

We start off through the opening credits with an inner monologue via main character of Daisy, its incessant, negative self talk which could be triggering for some viewers and it then switches quickly to sky view scenes from an airplane window as the plane lands at Heathrow Airport. At first you think, as the first few beats of "Do It With a Rockstar" by Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra, the vintage filters applied to the footage and Daisy's eighties rock look hit the screen, it appears you have fallen back in time until you remember that this movie was made last year and the premise is set around young love in the World War 3 tilled land of England.



We follow Daisy through high tech security measures, from retina scanner's to finger print scanning to the regular passport checkpoint, where she is asked to remove her headphones and this is where the music stops as we realize we have been listening to it via Daisy. Headphones back on as we then go through the usual grope and feel of the airport to wait for her ride.

I'm checking you out


How old are you?

We watch as Daisy takes a cursory look around the airport, soldiers stand guard at entrances, people staring at TV screens where news shows fire devastation and we pan back to Daisy with the most disinterested look on her face.

Enter young Isaac, her pleasantly sweet and polite cousin who has been sent to pick her up in stead of her Aunt, he is met with defensive, combative teen angst Daisy who has nothing nice to say and is nothing but rude to him but still he tries, have to give him points for that, I probably wouldn't have been anywhere near as patient with her.

Lets also note at this point that there is military every where outside the airport arrivals but yet, nobody questions the teenager's climbing over blockades and pushing open fences I'm pretty sure were put there for a reason.

Isaac, smart lad, refuses to pay the extortionate airport parking fees and we find out he has parked in a back lane with his 1980's Land Rover that Daisy refuses to get in... though I'm not sure if its because Isaac is fourteen and has been driving since he was six or the look of the vehicle itself, but he trumps her by declaring she can get a bus if she'd rather but it would take eight hours as opposed to the three it will take them to get home and the next bus wasn't until eleven a.m. the next morning and surprisingly, Daisy gets in the vehicle.

Do you have a license?

Tally forth!

We are followed through b-roll of open countryside by the lovely tones of Fairport Convention, where we pass Eddie on the way with his hawk (which will be explained later on) to the lovely farm home that they live in where Piper, the youngest girl cousin comes running out with a couple of overly zealous, over excited large dogs.

Insert negative self talk about germs as the dogs jump on Daisy, knock her over, she starts to freak out, enter Eddie, who clears the dogs off and helps her up.

We only see Aunt Penn, played by the lovely Anne Chancellor from Four Weddings and A Funeral (Ducky) for a mere five minutes as Daisy wanders into her study that night, she over hears her on the phone talking about the business trip she will be making even though she doesn't want to leave her kids alone, she hears Daisy wandering around and invites her in, they talk about Daisy's mother and that she will be away for a little while.

The next day consists of the cousins trying to round Daisy up to have some fun, but the blonde's idea of fun is pretty much nonexistent, she notices she isn't as carefree as they are because she doesn't allow herself to be and Eddie is the one that starts to help her open up.

Come on in!


Okay, that was creepy.

While they're teaching Daisy how to roast marshmallows, convincing her to try one (though who doesn't do this, she is American not from third world country) is when things turn quickly, birds scatter, the dogs run off, a foreboding wind whips through their make shift camp circle, their fire is extinguished, the sky above them darkens ominously, a loud rumbling bang is heard in the distance and finally a dark snow like ash starts to fall from the sky. Needless to say, they're scared, as anyone would probably be regardless of age and Joe the neighbor kid departs hastily for home.

Eddie takes charge and they race home, Piper runs to their farm house calling for their Au Pair, Sally, who is nowhere to be found while their house is covered eerily in ash and they realize something is definitely amiss when Piper tries to call their mother but the phone lines are down.

Isaac calls them desperately from their living room, they rush in to watch the news broadcast which the headline reads of an bomb explosion in London, that it is confirmed as a nuclear device known as a dirty bomb and as they are showing footage of the desolation that is now the capital, the power goes out and the TV goes dark.

It's Christmas... no wait!


What now?

Shock, fear, anxiety and panic set in, until Eddie takes charge once more and Daisy deals with some internal negative self talk once more.

They set up shop, get an old radio and wait but they hear nothing, there comes some bonding between Daisy and Eddie where she reveals to him some of her innermost secrets and they return home.

The next day, a representative from the American Consulate in Edinburgh shows up looking for Daisy, after checking to make sure she is the person he is looking for he reveals to her that he has safe passage for her back to the United States, to her home in New York and she questions about her cousins but he tells her there is nothing he can do for them.

Eddie stops the consulate as he is leaving and asks about what is happening outside their little safe haven, he tells them not to worry and that their area is to be evacuated in the next few days.

Eddie and Daisy bond
Eddie and Daisy bond | Source
Papers to travel back to the US out of the war zone
Papers to travel back to the US out of the war zone | Source

We shall not, we shall not be moved!

They refuse to go however and move down to their barn where Eddie and Daisy grow closer to the point of intimacy.

A few days later Joe returns, showing them a notice of mandatory evacuation but again they refuse to go, standing steadfast for the only reason is that it is their home and they refuse to leave it. They burn the notice, nobody bar Joe knowing their location and he says goodbye to leave with his parents.

They are discovered the next day, soldiers firing into the barn, they barely escape unscathed and suddenly they are surrounded, British soldier's literally dragging them back to their house where they brutally separate the quartet, the girls one way and the boys another.

That's my boo! Don't take her!


How do I live?

This where the movie gets darker, after the separation we follow Daisy and Piper as they are escorted to a local safe house in a bordering village, passing burnt out houses, wrecked cars, smoldering fires and their final stop is a two story detached home where they will stay with Mrs. McEvoy, a Major's wife, who explains to them that the terrorists have poisoned the water supply so they have to use water tablets, they are now on rations, there is a bucket for toilet business and one rule in her son's bedroom is to not move anything as he will be coming home.

Daisy really steps up here, realizing that to be strong for others she has to be strong in herself and that is battling with all her internal struggles especially needing to fight it now considering how hard life just got for everyone.


The Farm

They work at a place called "The Farm" where everyone, women and children alike are forced to work, planting and pulling vegetables, earning their keep where they bring home the food and this is where they find their friend, Joe.

He has a cut over his left eye, when they question about he is shifty and says that nothing happened he just got into a fight with some boys, he goes on to tell them that they have taken his father away, he is staying in a home with a bunch of other children and when asked about Eddie and Isaac he has a mini break down.

They head back to their home, a soldier encouraging Joe to go with the girls this time, the next checkpoint has been seized by enemy soldier's and Joe in his fit of depression, helped by the flask of alcohol he obviously stole from somewhere, yells and screams at them, drawing more attention than desired as the few women soldier's that remain try and get them off the post they get stuck on in their haste to escape.

They killed Joe!
They killed Joe! | Source
Run! | Source

The Escape

After surviving thanks to the efforts of the remaining soldier's on their convoy, they make it home, where Daisy steals a few more supplies and the girls run off into the night.

This is where the movie gets gritty and dark as they discover what exactly has happened in their war torn neighbourhood.

I have not seen an emotionally, dark, gritty movie with an amazing storyline since "Children of Men" was released in 2006 and not to mention the cinematography was awesome.

Without giving the rest of the movie away, this is definitely one of my favourite movies to date and definitely a must watch.

It does get dark, especially at times after the war has started but I have to give a lot of credit to the amazing performances by Saoirse Ronan and Harley Bird who carried majority of the movie after this point.

My Rating

4 stars for How I Live Now


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