How I Live Now

Director: Kevin Macdonald
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland, George MacKay
Find it: IMDB

An American teenager with a horrible attitude visits her cousins in England just as nuclear war threatens to envelop the world around her. With the adults elsewhere, the kids live an idyllic life of whimsy and swimming holes, kissing cousins and cow whispering. Then, as they so often do, the military turn up, and this (literally nuclear) family is torn apart.

I am reliably informed by someone who actually read the book, that there is actually a reason why Daisy (Ronan) is such a massive arsehole to everyone all the time, why Eddie (MacKay) can talk to cows and an actual sense of character development beyond Daisy suddenly, inexplicably not being such a massive arsehole to everyone. But I haven't read the book, so all I can comment upon is the film's less than impressive handling of such matters.

It starts off just fine, an apparent slow-burn cross between Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games. Daisy, while unlikeable, shows ample room for redemption, and her cousins are enjoyably, well, British (in an Ron Weasley meets Outnumbered sort of way). The first quarter or so of the film is when it is at its best. Then the army arrives,and everything goes to shit.

Character development fluffed and rushed (Daisy's OCD is barely there), it's hard to care about any of the kids or their plight. It gets darker and is surprisingly unpleasant at times, but feels rushed and inconsistent. The cow whispering (think Aquaman, but with cows) comes to naught, and the central love story isn't even developed enough to be considered creepy.

My life continues now much as it did before I watched How I Live Now. An utterly wasted opportunity, it certainly won't change your life anytime soon.

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