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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Famous Five meet the Third World War - and it works
This movie is about two teenage lovers torn apart by a third world war and determined to be reunited. It goes from the comical to the lyrical to the romantic to the threatening to the frightening to the grisly and never lost my attention for a moment. That's quite an achievement given that I'm a grumpy old man who soon gets irritated if writers, actors or directors don't...
Published 17 months ago by gilbert

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3.0 out of 5 stars Five go mad in the countryside
Curious tale that centres on the relationship between the young characters, set against a massive terrorist attack on Britain. While the story seems to lack a little in dramatic impact, its the subtle acknowledgement off what is happening that keeps you watching. Once the story does unfold though you can't help but keep watching, the bleakness adding to the grim...
Published 4 months ago by LINGO


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Famous Five meet the Third World War - and it works, 22 Oct. 2013
This review is from: How I Live Now [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This movie is about two teenage lovers torn apart by a third world war and determined to be reunited. It goes from the comical to the lyrical to the romantic to the threatening to the frightening to the grisly and never lost my attention for a moment. That's quite an achievement given that I'm a grumpy old man who soon gets irritated if writers, actors or directors don't do their job properly.
Acerbic American teenager Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) arrives in England to stay with her cousins. There's 14-year-old Isaac, a laid-back soul who meets her at the airport and subjects her to a scary ride home in a messy old Land Rover. "Home" is a ramshackle farmhouse and her other cousins are Piper (10-year-old Harley Bird), who is more chatty and friendly than Daisy cares for, and Edmond (George MacKay) who is the eldest and doesn't say much. There's unwashed crockery and meals are a disorganised affair; mother (Anna Chancellor) spends much of her time in her study and soon jets off to Geneva on a mission apparently connected with averting an apocalypse.
Daisy, who has OCD, is neurotic about the food she eats and is on medication to quell voices in her head, finds this environment somewhat challenging. She reacts by sulking in her room until the warmth of her cousins draws her out. It then becomes reminiscent of the Famous Five (Daisy has more than a passing resemblance to George) with swimming in the river, picnics and so on. But Daisy and Edmond aren't children and the hormones start to flow.
If the Famous Five were the optimistic face of the fifties, the threat of nuclear annihilation was its darker face. Contrary to many people's expectations it didn't materialise then but in this story, set in the near future, a nuclear bomb is detonated in London; there has already been some kind of bomb in Paris. It's all to do with unspecified terrorists. Sorry, war enthusiasts; if you want that kind of detail you've come to the wrong film.
Martial law is declared as Daisy's and Edmond's love is flowering so who can blame them for getting into bed together? The sex scene isn't as explicit as you may have been led to believe; more heart-warming than erotic or voyeuristic.
Their post-coital slumbers are interrupted by soldiers bursting in, guns blazing, to cart the boys and girls off to separate camps. Like many teenagers caught up by war before them, Daisy and Edmond vow to return home to each other.
The movie concentrates on Daisy's and Piper's experience in the work camp and subsequent escape. They see death - and not just of strangers - and anarchy which puts vulnerable females in danger. Hungry, thirsty and exhausted, Piper is a child trying to do her best to keep going, with Daisy pushing her to the limits and getting shirty with her in the process.
It was to be expected that Ronan would give a good performance - her best yet, I reckon - but Bird certainly didn't look out of place in such distinguished company. And thank goodness that director Kevin Macdonald concentrates on telling the story in a way which keeps the audience engaged; many a good film is spoiled by directors who forget that no matter how good the material or the actors, you'll send the punters to sleep if you don't give them enough variation of pace and tone. The film in which Ronan had her last outing , Byzantium, was an example of this.
Let's hope that after that and the cinematic disaster which was The Host, this nuclear disaster opens a new chapter in Ronan's career. She deserves it.
SPOILER I can think of other actresses performing with their fathers in films - Henry and Jane Fonda, John and Hayley Mills - but is there another example of an actress killing her father in a film?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Film, 3 April 2014
This review is from: How I Live Now [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Once again I have to be entirely honest here and say I did initially buy this film JUST to see Saoirse Ronan. Like Chloe Moretz, she is an amazing actress and both are certainly the future of Hollywood. I am a HUGE fan of hers and was immediately interested in this film.

I had no expectations for this film. The trailer looked great and Saoirse was in it. Oh, and the bluray was a great price!! So when I watched it, I went in entirely open to whatever I was about to see. And I was so impressed. I don't know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn't this. There's so much of Daisy in myself it is unreal, and I can really identify with her as a character. Seeing the relationship between her and her cousins blossom, and Daisy herself letting her guard down is beautiful, it's so well done and not forced or over directed in any way. In some ways it's almost poetic that the kids, teens, young adult group fend so well for themselves without adults. They're intelligent, resourceful yet still adolescent.

You're quite in the dark about the state of the world and the very idea of World War Three (if that's what it is,) as an event until the awful separation. When Eddie and Daisy were so much in love at this point and them, Isaac, Edmund and Piper were so together as a unit, I was heartbroken, especially when you had this horrible idea about what the fate of the boys could be. Piper and Daisy are evacuated and kept together, foraging for fresh fruit and vegetables during the day. Only here did you get to see the world for what it had become, and it's a shocking fear of what could come to this world, if WW3 really were to happen. The water tablets is a great idea, I commend Meg Rosoff for inventing or using that. The violence is truly seen as Piper and Daisy head back to the countryside house, which includes a mass grave and the witnessing of a gang rape. The discovery at the mass grave will truly get you.

It's almost bizarre that a teenager and child set off hand in hand across a war-stricken Britain to reunite themselves as a family and unit. As mentioned, they see, experience and encounter so much that only makes them stronger. The determination of Daisy and innocence of Piper make them a brilliant combination.

The representation of how deep the bond between Eddie and Daisy is is truly amazing, and Daisy has a way of almost feeling or knowing that Eddie isn't safe. It's not psychic as such, the film doesn't dabbled with what some might call 'the impossible.' The bond is strong and she responds, especially at the end of the film.

Considering the small size and ages of the main cast members, everyone holds their place on screen. Saoirse could have a broom as her co star and make it work, quite frankly. Want proof? Watch The Lovely Bones. That must have been done almost entirely in greenscreen (her parts anyway,) and how glorious is she in that? By the end of this film, all my lights were off, and I was sat on my bed, tears in my eyes and hands clasped at my chin. Such a brilliantly acted, directed and book-to-screen film. Do not miss this, if you're not sure, buy it, you will not regret it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable YA adventure film, 10 Nov. 2013
By 
Paul Allaer (Cincinnati) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: How I Live Now [DVD] (DVD)
"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. Second, Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, who plays the role of Daisy, confirms once again what an amazing talent she is, keeping in mind her Oscar nominated role in Atonement, and a few years later equally outstanding in The Lovely Bones. Ronan is in every scene of the film and in virtually every frame, and really carries the film on her shoulders. Third, I did not read the novel, so I can't tell to what degree (if at all) the film differs plot-wise from the novel, but there are certain moments that you must accept certain plot points, however unlikely they seem, because in the end this is a science fiction film, albeit one in a young adult setting, but still science fiction. Last but no least: there is a great selection of songs throughout the movie, mostly newer, indie music, but also an oldie from Fairport Convention, causing Daisy to comment "what the hell is that?", ha! Bottom line: I enjoyed this better than I had expected going into it.

This film showed up without any pre-release fanfare or advertising on a single screen for all of Southwest Ohio (Greater Cincinnati/Dayton). The screening I saw this at today was not attended particularly well, even if it was a matinee show. That does not bode well for the commercial prospects of the film in theatres, which is a shame, as I think this could find an audience with the proper advertising and awareness campaign. "How I Live Now" is worth checking out, be it in theatres or on DVD/Blu-ray.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly moving, 11 Jun. 2014
By 
Abi "were_walsh" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How I Live Now (DVD)
Beautifully filmed and well acted by a talented young cast . Found this gripping and moving. Well worth a watch. Am keeping for a few days so my teens can watch it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A liitle known British gem, 21 April 2014
This review is from: How I Live Now (DVD)
Great film, probably one of the best films I have seen so far this year. Great acting again by Saoirse Ronan as Daisy (loved all the films she’s been in, a real star of the future). But the rest of the cast were excellent. I fully recommend watching, it is gripping from the first moment to the last. My only gripe is the lack of detail about the war, but I guess the films not really about that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE VOICES IN MY HEAD, 17 Nov. 2013
By 
The Movie Guy "Movies from A to Z" (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: How I Live Now [DVD] (DVD)
Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) "don't call me Elizabeth" has Daddy issues and comes to vacation in the country side of England with relatives she has never met. She takes meds for the voices in her head and is a disagreeable individual who hates everything about the country except for a young man named Eddie (George MacKay) a cow whisperer. Europe is in turmoil, events we know little about. When a nuclear device is exploded in London, fallout comes to the farm (literally and figuratively) as Daisy opts to refuse passage to safety to stay in her newly acquired comfort zone.

The film centers around Daisy and the choices she makes for her new family, going from a self centered individual, finally learning about loving a family, something she has missed since the death of her mother. "WWIII" provides the background and was more of a distraction to the film than anything else. Saoirse Ronan, a NYC girl who has also lived in Ireland was a natural for the part.

This is another series of films that were well made, but I didn't find having an overwhelming amount of entertainment value. Even with the dropping of an atomic bomb and armies roaming the countryside, I was still in the mode of waiting for something to happen besides the growing of Daisy's character. Clearly this is an action/drama/thriller chick flick I had no business watching. Great for teen girls.

Parental Guide: F-bomb. Sex. Off screen rape. No nudity. 3 1/2 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars has the potential to be the best actress around, 15 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: How I Live Now [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Enjoyable watch. Saoirse Ronan, if she keeps grounded, has the potential to be the best actress around. The film roles along nicely without being too Hollywood. A good watch and worthwhile.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty Young Adult Tale, 7 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: How I Live Now [DVD] (DVD)
A very Gritty Young Adult Story that pulls no punches in its impact its a sort of Red Dawn for the Hunger Games/Maze Runner generation.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Five go mad in the countryside, 3 Nov. 2014
By 
LINGO (Conwy, U.K.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How I Live Now (DVD)
Curious tale that centres on the relationship between the young characters, set against a massive terrorist attack on Britain. While the story seems to lack a little in dramatic impact, its the subtle acknowledgement off what is happening that keeps you watching. Once the story does unfold though you can't help but keep watching, the bleakness adding to the grim undertones of the story. Good performances by the young cast.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The film was very good, enjoyable watch, 25 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: How I Live Now [DVD] (DVD)
The film was very good , enjoyable watch. Great storyline. However I did find it unsettling when you think that something like this could happen one day, terrorists detonating a nuclear weapon then invading Britain commiting atroctites along the way as they advance (referencing the scene with Daisy with the gun hiding in the bush). Great film nevertheless five stars but slightly nerving to watch.
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How I Live Now [DVD]
How I Live Now [DVD] by Kevin Macdonald (DVD - 2014)
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