How I Live Now

Metascore
57

Mixed or average reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 29
  2. Negative: 1 out of 29

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Nov 7, 2013
    60
    As sun-dappled infatuation abruptly crashes into post-apocalyptic survival, Mr. Macdonald struggles to balance a nebulous narrative on tentpole moments of rich emotional resonance.
  2. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Nov 6, 2013
    60
    Part of the point may be how trauma simplifies life by stripping away everything inessential, but just as there’s little satisfaction in watching Daisy pursue an unworthy goal, there’s little satisfaction in watching a specific, colorful, keenly felt portrait become such a familiar story.
  3. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Nov 6, 2013
    60
    How I Live Now goes to that nuclear nightmare, and Ronan, who can’t hide her smarts even when the role isn’t as good as the one she had in "Atonement," makes a feast of the journey.
  4. Reviewed by: Emma Morgan
    Oct 5, 2013
    60
    An Arab Spring-y allegory with kissing cousins and a divine countryside setting, Kevin Macdonald’s fourth narrative film is an awkward oddity, as uncomfortable in its own skin as its protagonist.
  5. Reviewed by: Cath Clarke
    Oct 1, 2013
    60
    Kevin Macdonald’s slightly drab adaptation of Meg Rosoff’s popular teen novel would be nothing without Saoirse Ronan.
  6. Reviewed by: Olly Richards
    Sep 30, 2013
    60
    Macdonald's film is a noble stab at bringing Meg Rosoff's YA novel to the screen, which sees Ronan in typically watchable form.
  7. Reviewed by: Henry Barnes
    Sep 17, 2013
    60
    A gooey love story is pitted against the end of the world. No wonder the romance comes up wanting.
  8. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Nov 7, 2013
    50
    Macdonald (“The Last King of Scotland,” “State of Play”) does a passable job of evoking post-apocalyptic atmosphere in How I Live Now, although the film suffers from uneven tone — is it a teen romance or wartime adventure? — and, ultimately, a regrettable lack of focus.
  9. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Nov 7, 2013
    50
    A meticulously observed, rapturously directed account of World War III and its aftermath as seen from the point of view of a spoiled young woman. The movie’s pretty fascinating before it goes bonkers.
  10. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Nov 7, 2013
    50
    Imagine a Judy Blume rewrite of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," and you'll end up somewhere in the ashen yet uplifting vicinity of How I Live Now.
  11. Reviewed by: Chuck Bowen
    Nov 5, 2013
    50
    There are a few effectively disquieting sequences early on, but the film never recovers from director Kevin Macdonald's indifferent staging of a pivotal moment.
  12. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Sep 17, 2013
    50
    What starts as potentially interesting apocalyptic speculative fiction devolves into dreary sub-Hunger Games survivalism and banal teen romance.
  13. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Sep 17, 2013
    50
    For every poignant moment there’s a gaudy dream sequence, wretched internal monologue, ham-fisted zoom or an exchange of dialogue sorely lacking nuance.
  14. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Nov 8, 2013
    40
    A frosty-eyed, imperturbable actress in “Atonement,” “Hanna” and “The Host,” Ronan is at least able to sell Daisy’s new focus while the movie loses its own.
  15. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Nov 7, 2013
    40
    The production feels tentative and underpopulated: I thought not only of Katniss Everdeen but of the marvelous pandemonium in Danny Boyle's zombie epic "28 Days Later."
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 26 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Jan 4, 2014
    10
    This is a rare film. A gemstone. an oil painting of a young woman neurotic.
    This film is a simple but not simplistic. the characters are
    This is a rare film. A gemstone. an oil painting of a young woman neurotic.
    This film is a simple but not simplistic. the characters are sketched as if they were living in a real fairytale. Real like the tension that is always present and alive. a magical movie. I have no other words. happy to have seen it.
    Full Review »
  2. Nov 11, 2013
    8
    An American teenager (Saoirse Ronan) is sent to rural England to spend the summer with step-cousins. Just as her aloof attitude changes andAn American teenager (Saoirse Ronan) is sent to rural England to spend the summer with step-cousins. Just as her aloof attitude changes and she begins to love the experience (and the oldest boy), a terrorist takeover rocks the couintry. What starts as a transplanted teen drama takes a forceful shift into a tense fight for survival. The young cast creates characters that are appealing and director Kevin Macdonald (Last King of Scotland) has crafted a surprisingly affecting and sometimes frightening film. Full Review »
  3. Apr 2, 2014
    8
    Don't pay attention to the professionals on this one. They're far too hung up on categories. Is this a YA? Is it a war drama? Is it art? WhoDon't pay attention to the professionals on this one. They're far too hung up on categories. Is this a YA? Is it a war drama? Is it art? Who cares? This film is like your first time with your first love. It's awkward and fumbly at times, but it's also honest and heartfelt. Not once did I ever feel manipulated and not once did I stop caring about what would happen to these innocents caught in a conflict they could barely see, much less comprehend. Saoirse Ronan is wonderful. She owns every moment she's on the screen. Despite the smug judgment of some critics, How I Live Now is two hours very well spent. Full Review »