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How I Live Now (2013)


Average Rating: 6.3/10
Reviews Counted: 101
Fresh: 68
Rotten: 33

Critics Consensus: 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: 6.1/10
Reviews Counted: 29
Fresh: 17
Rotten: 12

Critics Consensus: 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: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 7,064


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 Initially withdrawn and alienated, she begins to warm up to her charming surroundings, and strikes up a romance with the handsome Edmund (George MacKay).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) … More

R (for violence, disturbing images, language and some sexuality)
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Feb 11, 2014
Box Office:
Magnolia Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for How I Live Now

All Critics (101) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (68) | Rotten (33) | DVD (1)

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

Full Review… | November 15, 2013
Globe and Mail
Top 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.

Full Review… | November 14, 2013
Toronto Star
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | November 14, 2013
San Francisco Chronicle
Top 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.

Full Review… | November 14, 2013
Associated Press
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | November 8, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

There's a lot left unsaid in How I Live Now - but it's unsaid with unusual force.

Full Review… | November 8, 2013
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Based on the YA novel by Meg Rosoff, How I Live Now finds itself hindered by its source material, even as it seeks to surpass it.

Full Review… | August 18, 2014
Under the Radar

Saoirse Ronan supplies what the screenwriters do not

Full Review… | May 15, 2014
Movie Habit

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.

Full Review… | April 5, 2014

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.

Full Review… | March 13, 2014
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.

Full Review… | February 28, 2014
Concrete Playground

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

Full Review… | February 18, 2014
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.

Full Review… | February 18, 2014
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.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014

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

Full Review… | February 6, 2014
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.

Full Review… | February 4, 2014
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.

Full Review… | January 29, 2014

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.

Full Review… | December 8, 2013

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

Full Review… | December 5, 2013
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.

Full Review… | December 2, 2013
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.

Full Review… | November 28, 2013

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

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

Full Review… | November 24, 2013
Reel Film Reviews

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

Full Review… | November 23, 2013

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

Full Review… | November 22, 2013

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

Full Review… | November 21, 2013
East Bay Express

Audience Reviews for How I Live Now


I didn't know what to think when I came into watching this film. I certainly wasn't expecting what I got. I like how they focused on the characters and really fleshed them out. It was a very real story but maybe it should have been more focused. It was both a coming of age romance story and a post-apocalyptic survival drama. It felt like it was trying to do too much. Either way, it was still enjoyable.

Wildaly M

Super Reviewer


Kevin Macdonald's How I Live Now is based on the 'young adult' book of the same name written by Meg Rosoff. Now, as far as I can tell, 'young adult' books are quite typically underdeveloped half-ideas based on successful stories that already exist, many being classics. No one can really accuse these books of being copies because they are generally so vague, How I Live Now being a prime example. We don't really know who the good guys are, we don't know who the bad guys are, we don't know why they're being bad but we do know that for some unexplained and no good reason, that we need to back to the house no one really wanted to be at in the first place even though we know it isn't safe. Poorly written and unconvincing puppy love will help us achieve this woefully unrealistic goal. It's fairly hard to review a film where nothing really happens. Interpretive films are good, they make you think but this one isn't trying to do that, it's really just the emperor's new clothes, except it's not new, it's old, very old, and it's stinking the place up somewhat. When I was a young adult I read the classics, that's when you're supposed to read them. You then re-read them 20 years later to remind yourself not to become a complete right-wing twat. I worry about youth, I really do. What saddens me more is that the authors of these rubbish books are people my age looking to make a quick buck at the expense of children's imagination and great works of fiction from long dead geniuses. I'm disappointed in Kevin Macdonald.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer


"How I Live Now"? Apparently how Saoirse Ronan lives now is in a world where gradually toning down the hamminess of a performance passes as character development. The script really could use a little...umm...EVERYTHING. But for a low budget film, it actually does a lot with what it has.

Christian C

Super Reviewer

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...

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

How I Live Now Quotes

This Is how I live now.
– Submitted by Abbey D (12 months ago)

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