How I Live Now (2013)

How I Live Now (2013) PosterHow I Watch a Punk Hanna

Daisy (Saoirse Ronan), a teenager from New York City, is sent to the British countryside for the summer to stay with cousins. She soon immerses herself in a dreamy pastoral idyll as she falls madly in love with Eddie (George MacKay), until their perfect summer is blown apart by the sudden outbreak of a 21st-century world war. Along with Eddie’s younger siblings, Isaac (Tom Holland) and Piper (Harley Bird), they are left in isolation and forced to fend for themselves. When they are violently separated Daisy must embark on a terrifying journey in order to be reunited with the boy she loves.

Kevin McDonald's latest feels like a film of two halves. The first half is a romance film with a backdrop set in a future version of the UK that is on the verge of war. The romance subplot is the films weakest aspect, coming off as overly cheesy and reminiscent of the Teen Romance films which try to emulate the success of the Twilight franchise. George McKay doesn't help things, giving off a bland performance as Eddie, love interest and cousin to Saoirse Ronans moody punk character Daisy. Ronan does great work in the role of the initially unlikable teen, despite the two lovers sharing little chemistry.

He found Daisy's fingers to be especially tasty

The second half pushes the romance into the background, relegating it as the driving factor for Daisys survival and focuses on the setting of a World War 3 stricken Britain, and this is where the film is at its strongest. Kevin McDonald doesn't pull any punches when it comes to showing the harsh realities of war, with many tense moments making their way onscreen and even pulls a gut punch, showing nobody is safe in such times War, regardless of age.

If there was a better focus on the romance elements and a better romantic lead to act opposite Saoirse Ronan, then this would be one of the years better surprises. For now, it is merely half a mediocre film and half a great film.