How I Live Now
Over the past few years, there have been several films based on young-adult novels that tell the story of an angst-ridden, female protagonist learning to survive within a corrupt science-fiction/fantasy world. The cinematic franchises for both the "Twilight" saga and "The Hunger Games" trilogy have become some of the highest-grossing films of all-time, but based on the popularity of their source material, these films were destined to become financially successful blockbusters. What's surprisingly refreshing about "How I Live Now", based on the 2004 novel by Meg Rosoff and directed by Kevin MacDonald ("The Last King of Scotland", "Marley"), is that it's rather small in terms of its budget, but it's rich with ideas and packs one hell of an emotional wallop, which is all too rare in this day and age.
Saoirse Ronan ("Atonement", "Hanna") stars as Daisy, a seemingly arrogant American girl whose father has sent her to live with her aunt and cousins in the English countryside. While Daisy is initially filled with contempt for her extended family, she's eventually won over by their optimistic outlooks on life, and begins to grow romantic feelings for the eldest of her cousins named Eddie (George MacKay). However, when a nuclear bomb is set off in London by unknown forces, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians, it launches the beginning of World War III, forcing Daisy and her cousins into a terrifying fight for survival by evading military forces, along with a variety of other barbaric human beings sprawling amongst the apocalyptic landscapes of England.
The extras are fairly slim on the Blu-ray disc, but include two very brief "making-of" featurettes, a couple of deleted scenes, interviews with the cast and crew, behind-the-scenes comparisons, and the theatrical trailer. Yet, despite the fact that the bonus features provide little insight in terms of what you can already grasp from the film itself, what makes the picture so hauntingly effective is the ambiguity of the destructive world that the characters inhabit. Where "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games" present polished, watered-down coming-of-age tales centered around teenage romance, "How I Live Now" is raw, gritty and disturbingly authentic in its portrayals of violence, sexuality and the loss of innocence one faces when they're exposed to the harsh realities of life.
"How I Live Now"