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How I Live Now (2013)



Average Rating: 6.3/10
Reviews Counted: 99
Fresh: 66 | Rotten: 33

Led by another strong performance from Saoirse Ronan and a screenplay that subverts YA clichés, How I Live Now blends young love with post-apocalyptic drama.


Average Rating: 6/10
Critic Reviews: 26
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 12

Led by another strong performance from Saoirse Ronan and a screenplay that subverts YA clichés, How I Live Now blends young love with post-apocalyptic drama.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 5,745

My Rating

Movie Info

Set in the near-future UK, Ronan plays Daisy, an American teenager 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 Initially withdrawn and alienated, she begins to warm up to her charming surroundings, and strikes up a romance with the handsome Edmund (George MacKay).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. (c)


Art House & International, Drama

Feb 11, 2014


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All Critics (99) | Top Critics (26) | Fresh (66) | Rotten (33) | DVD (1)

Refreshingly free of digital apocalyptics and unnervingly prone to random violence.

November 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

How I Live Now centres on what happens to a group of young people when civilization begins to crumble. But it's also a poignant love story, a compelling, against-all-odds one at that.

November 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"How I Live Now" makes World War III seem boring, which would hardly seem possible.

November 14, 2013 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's a clear message here: Sometimes it takes extraordinary circumstances to realize it, but we all have the capacity to shed our petty concerns and focus on the greater good.

November 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Associated Press
Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

How I Live Now offers adolescents a lovely vision of holistic healing in the same countryside.

November 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"How I Live Now" is uncomfortably easy to believe.

November 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lush and bewilderingly rich with portent and moment, Kevin Macdonald's gently wrought apocalyptic-pop teen romance takes place in a deadly near future in the English countryside far from the center of modern war.

April 5, 2014 Full Review Source: Newcity

How I Live Now is likely to appeal to both teens and older viewers, and it thankfully doesn't blindly follow formulas, but allows itself to drift and flow.

March 13, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

On the outside, How I Live Now looks like a mess. Part Tomorrow When the War Began, part The Shining, part 28 Days Later, it's a hodgepodge of concepts that don't completely gel. So it's weird that the film is actually quite good.

February 28, 2014 Full Review Source: Concrete Playground
Concrete Playground

I did not believe what was happening. I didn't particularly like the performances.

February 18, 2014 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

Not having read the book on which this impressive film is based I was completely unprepared for the way the narrative developed.

February 18, 2014 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

It's easy to see what the filmmakers were going for: a story of young love and survival during wartime, but there are far too many holes in this story and a lack of essential ingredients to make it work.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source:

[A]rguably delves into country matters more deeply than any precursor in cinema.

February 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

The target audience probably won't worry much about whether there's a more effective way to split the difference between world's-end anxiety and the possibly greater tumult of adolescent love.

February 4, 2014 Full Review Source: SF Weekly
SF Weekly

The strength of How I Live Now is its refreshingly stripped back aesthetic, committed performances from its young cast, and a screenplay that doesn't sugar-coat its horrors or the way teenagers interact.

January 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Quickflix

This latest from director Kevin Macdonald (of pics like The Last King Of Scotland and State Of Play) is drawn from a 'young adult' novel by Meg Rosoff but, surprisingly, proves rather more adult than expected.

December 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Rip It Up

"...a harrowing anti-war movie that's only a bit relieved by a bittersweet love story."

December 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

How I Live Now could have been called 'Tomorrow When The War Began in rural England and my cousins and I decided to live a hippy rural existence until sh*t got real'; but that would have been far too literal.

December 2, 2013 Full Review Source: 2UE That Movie Show
2UE That Movie Show

The film's well-judged moments of horror and violence are charged with terror and moral abandon, perfect counterpoints to the safety and security Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) is seeking for herself and her petrified little cousin.

November 28, 2013 Full Review Source: 3AW

Macdonald commendably refuses to soften the blow in a couple of unforgettable scenes - setting this teen epic bravely apart from its peers.

November 25, 2013 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
FILMINK (Australia) is, for the most part, impossible to develop any real interest in the various characters' exploits.

November 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Ronan's spectacular star turn makes the pro forma young adult love story plotting intimately, painfully real.

November 23, 2013 Full Review Source:

Despite some strong performances, the script's disparate ideas don't jell emotionally.

November 22, 2013 Full Review Source:

Doesn't really need a war ordeal to embellish it. Daisy herself should be story enough.

November 21, 2013 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Kevin Macdonald doesn't make "horror movies," yet the director can conjure screen moments that are perfectly paralyzing without the aid of a serrated blade, hatchet, chainsaw, ice pick or even the trusted rusty pair of scissors.

November 15, 2013 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for How I Live Now

Maybe far fetched. Maybe some unanswered questions...but I can't help feel it was planned that way, in order to just focus on the children's ordeal, journey, and life consequences. I was drawn in completely...
March 24, 2014

Super Reviewer

Love will lead you home.

Good movie! Despite its genre, the movie was actually remarkably artistic not just in the beautiful countryside that is so tragically spoilt by the outbreak of a massive global conflict, but also in its portrayal of the nature of war. Notably, the enemy is not identified once, beyond the fact that they are "terrorists." Our only interactions with them in the movie could imply that they are anarchists, but this is mere speculation. And it is not told from the military point of view, who might be used to threats like this, but rather from the point of view of the civilians, whose lives have been torn apart. One must ignore all the questions to watch this movie. If you don't think about it, Saoirse Roanan puts in a very compelling performance. She is the best thing in this. Though certainly not the best film out there, it surely isn't the worst. If you are a fan of Ronan you will be slightly disappointed, but not so much that you feel like it may be time to turn your back on her. This film just suffers from trying to do too much at once and it just doesn't coordinate well in the long run. Plus, if you have seen other films which balance having a plot with romance and war, this film looks even worse. Still though, I think this is worth TV viewing, or watching OnDemand, when you're bored on a Sunday and have nothing better to watch.

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.
December 10, 2013
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

Although it has a very solid premise and material that can make a great film, "How I Live Now" suffers greatly from a very sloppy second and third act which makes the film boring to watch, and disappointing after the terrific build-up. In the middle of war, a family is forced apart to survive on their own with families, although we never really see the rest of them. As we follow the two girls of the family, trying to find their way home and developing new lifestyles, they encounter greater threats and come to horrifying realizations. "How I Live Now" is shot beautifully, scripted well, and well edited, but it just suffers greatly from the writing. I am disappointed to say that it's just another average film.
December 4, 2013
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

three stars!!
November 16, 2013
MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer

    1. Daisy: This Is how I live now.
    – Submitted by Abbey D (6 months ago)
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Foreign Titles

  • How I Live Now (Maintenant C'est Ma Vie) (FR)
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