How I Live Now
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Starring: Saoirse Ronan; Tom Holland; George MacKay.
Plot: An American girl, sent to the English countryside to stay with relatives, finds love and purpose while fighting for her survival as war envelops the world around her.
Kevin Macdonald may have an impressive track record of well developing stories like State of Playand The Last King of Scotland (especially), but his 2013 piece – How I Live Now – was not one to add to the list.
The major issue with this feature was the complete lack of relevant or intriguing character development in relation to the elaborate and ‘indy–scifi‘ plot that placed a group of children into the start of world war 3 and the aftermath of a Nuclear explosion taking place in London. It seemed, to me, like this movie was way too focussed on the selling point of Nuclear war, its choices of music, and its fashionable star – Ronan – to truly develop personal matters beyond that of teenager cliche, which was a real shame considering how beautiful some of the film was.
How I Live Now was a picture that truly delivered in juxtaposing the beauty of nature and people (in photographic terms at least), with that of Nuclear war. It was this, and only this, that saved the film from complete disaster, in my opinion. Even so, the collection of beautifully photographed shots seemed only to be used to intersect the jumpy script and attempt to ensure we’d forget about the missing parts of the story and just take it as it was.
Admittedly, criticising a film centered around a teenage protagonist for being “full of teenager cliche” may be a bit harsh, but the reality is that the only reason for any character development of the film’s main character was a boy for whom she dropped her tough persona at the drop of a hat.
This film was Twilight levels of bad storytelling.