Mixed or average reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , , ,
  • Summary: Daisy (Saoirse Ronan), an American teenager, is sent to stay with relatives in the English countryside. Initially withdrawn and alienated, she begins to warm up to her charming surroundings, and strikes up a romance with the handsome Edmund (George MacKay). But on the fringes of their idyllic summer days are tense news reports of an escalating conflict in Europe. As the UK falls into a violent, chaotic military state, Daisy finds herself hiding and fighting to survive. [Magnolia Pictures] Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 29
  2. Negative: 1 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Nov 5, 2013
    Tender, humane, and searing, How I Live Now stands as something all too rare: a movie about young people that young people may love — but not one that lies to them, and not one built for them alone.
  2. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Nov 5, 2013
    In a movie without adults, the children are spontaneous and natural. And Ms. Ronan is captivating throughout.
  3. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Nov 8, 2013
    It's strong stuff, and the actors are fully up to it.
  4. Reviewed by: Cath Clarke
    Oct 1, 2013
    Kevin Macdonald’s slightly drab adaptation of Meg Rosoff’s popular teen novel would be nothing without Saoirse Ronan.
  5. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Nov 6, 2013
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Nov 7, 2013
    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.
  7. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Nov 14, 2013
    Drama is as much about perspective as it is about events, and the angle provided by How I Live Now turns out to be self-defeating.

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Jan 4, 2014
    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. Expand
  2. Feb 22, 2014
    I think it's become a habit for me to misunderstand people from the movie poster. Till I watch this movie I thought it was Noomi Rapace then realised I was wrong. I saw all of Saoirse Ronan movies and liked everyone. In my thought she is nothing but a female version of Freddie Highmore. Because I love all of his movies like hers. They are the great young actors, the future is waiting for them.

    This British movie was based on the book. The story is set in the backdrop of the third world war United Kingdom. Where an American teenage girl sent to the English countryside by her father, where she get stuck in middle of the modern war. Begins her game of survival along with her young cousins. Between this her first ever love makes her to take tough decisions during hard times.

    If you had seen 'Lore' you would find some similarities with the story. Especially the second half of this movie was somehow resembled that movie. Maybe the main character, the teen girls from both the movies makes us bluff. Only the foot journey was similar in appearance, but the rest was travelled in different directions.

    The love story did not stand up to the standards of true love. Looked like young people's sexual expedition, especially like the first experience in life for them. Should have spent more time for those two characters to develop romantic relationship between them to convince the viewers. The movie captured great countryside green sceneries of England. That keeps us to stick with this till the end.

  3. Apr 2, 2014
    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? 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. Expand
  4. Nov 11, 2013
    An 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. Expand
  5. Nov 11, 2013
    Nonetheless, I generally enjoyed How I Live Now. Its story offers an intriguing and unique angle on a classic YA theme. It features some striking visual moments, and a hard-earned message of hope and perseverance. But Macdonald seems out of his depth directing a kid-centered drama, and the characters suffer, coming off as archetypes (the dream boy, the nerdy brother, the obnoxious little sister) or never quite coming together at all. It's a difficult thing translating a book that is told in the voice of a character to a film where most of her internal monologue is stripped away. And it's a shame that so much was stripped away that How I Live Now's heroine seems barely there at all. Expand
  6. Jan 6, 2014
    I've never seen a filmization which was as amazing as the book until "How I Live Now". The screenwriters and Macdonald created an incredible movie with appropriate acting of the leads. Expand