Saoirse Ronan stars as Daisy and in How I Live Now, she is anything but a wallflower. Daisy is an American girl who is heading to Great Britain to stay with relatives she has never met. We don’t know why she is heading there, but one thing that is obvious is she is not thrilled about it. She is a teenager with attitude to the extreme and upon her landing, her demeanor says it all.
Daisy heads to her cousins’ countryside home and it appears as if the house is run by the children. Mom is busy with something that appears to be quite important and we don’t even meet her until almost a half hour into the movie. Television screens hint at disruption that appears to be consuming the European continent and mom is key to keeping it at a distance. But when that fails. Mom heads off to the continent and the kids are left to run the farm.
Almost immediately the horrors of war invade. Yet in Kevin MacDonald’s film, the explosions and battles are always at a distance. It’s also hard to tell who the “good” guys are and who the “bad” guys are. In that way, the film is an absolute stunner. You feel the terror, but it is never in your face. The means with which it is so scary is told solely through our characters and Daisy is front and center.
She cannot understand what is happening, and frankly, neither can we. But what is clear is that even in the remote part of Great Britain where they live, they are not safe.
Meanwhile, Daisy finds love with a neighbor boy and it is through the strains of amore that the How I Live Now story is truly driven. Sure, it feels like a post apocalyptic film, but at its heart, MacDonald’s movie is a love story that speaks to the power of love when all else in the world has gone to utter hell.
Ronan continues her hot streak that truly began with her turn in Hanna. She may be rumored to be in Star Wars Episode VII and we cannot think of a better actress to anchor the next trilogy.
But, back to How I Live Now. In this film, the young Irish actress shows why she is in such high demand. What she emits, often times simply through her face alone, is pure power.
Our How I Live Now review finds that this film is a pure showcase for an actresses' talents that, almost scarily, are only in its infancy.