First things first, Saoirse Ronan is a great actress, with enough talent to achieve what all actors seek: longevity. However, the standard of her films as of late….not so much. They’ve been largely forgettable and boring films. Barring Hanna (2011) of course, which was a peculiar, yet great slice of action entertainment.
The most recent offering from Ronan is the big screen adaptation of Meg Rosoff’s speculative World War III YA novel ‘How I Live Now’, about an American teenager, Daisy, visiting relatives in England, finding love and eventually facing a fight for her life when nuclear war begins.
From the looks of things, the film has the requisite idyllic English countryside that Americans seem to adore so ardently, as well as the YA true love trope that teenagers fall head over heels for. Not to mention the English love interest is named Edmund, for the sake of obtaining more British heritage points. Nevertheless, despite the obvious clichés, there could be something worthwhile here.
The pristinely rustic locale is meant to juxtapose mightily with the grave nature of nuclear war – a shocking contrast that echoes apocalyptic films like 28 Days Later. For instance, the shot of the ash falling on the cottage is a beautiful and gloomy image that exemplifies what the premise of this film is all about. The acting looks solid, and with Oscar-winning director and experienced documentarian Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) helming there should be little to panic about. Well at least for us, as the characters’ fights for survival look eerily real, but suitably entertaining.