[CIFF Capsule Review] How I Live Now

[Ruby Hornet will be attending the 49th Chicago International Film Festival from 10/10 – 10/24. Be sure to follow along as we bring you coverage from the longest-running competitive international film festival in the country. You can find all of our coverage from this year’s CIFF here.]

How I Live Now
Director: Kevin MacDonald
Country: United Kingdom

Release Date: October 15, 2013 (CIFF)

Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) is a selfish nihilist sent to the English countryside to stay with family friends due to growing military strife in the United States. While her “cousins’ (not blood-related) try their best to make her feel welcome and at home, she’s cold and unjustifiably mean-spirited towards them. When she begins to open up and fall for the eldest child, Edmund, she lets down her guard in the name of live. However, like clockwork, the terrorist threat reaches England, causing the country to fall under military control. When Edmund and his brother Isaac are separated from Daisy and little sister Piper, Edmund and Daisy make a pact to find each other at the countryside home.

How I Live Now is a sappy romance story posing as a survival film… or maybe it’s the other way around? The emotional cues that should bring empathy to audiences are so wooden and unbelievable. Daisy’s “transformation” from total bitch to selfish bitch is maddening. Even while the country quickly becomes a military state and she has her younger cousin under her responsibility, it’s obvious that she only cares to return to Eddie. The ending itself is so sappy and uncharacteristic. What about mourning over Isaac? Total blame can’t be laid on director Kevin MacDonald and the film’s writers, since How I Live Now is based off of a novel. Still… still… I’m shaking my head just thinking about this film.

Score: RH scoreRH scoreRH scoreRH scoreRHScoreHalf 4.5 out of 10

Geoff Henao

Geoff Henao is a writer/kinda photographer affiliated with the Chicago collective LOD. His interests include film, punk rock, cute girls, graphic novels, video games, and the Chicago Bulls. He's funny sometimes.

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