Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 00:00

'How I Live Now' is dysfuntional dystopia

'How I Live Now' is dysfuntional dystopia saoirseronan.info
Written by Martha K. Baker
Rate this item
(0 votes)

About this Media...

  • Director: Kevin McDonald
  • Dates: Opened Nov. 8, 2013

The first thing to know about "How I Live Now" is that it is set in a dystopia, not a utopia. What starts out as a teen-ager's cry against the world, manifested in Goth style, ends up in a state of totalitarian and environmental and personal degradation.

Director Kevin McDonald, known for "Last King of Scotland," creates this dystopia in film. He based it on the one drawn in the novel by Meg Rosoff. Kudoses to them for creating a world of fear and ugliness and angst with just a soupcon of hope and love. The main character is Elizabeth; she oddly prefers to be called Daisy, although she's hardly that sunny. Her hair is yellow, dyed, but her clothes are black and torn, and she's a germaphobe. So what does her unseen father do but ship her off to her mother's sister, a British peacenik, who's rarely home. Home is a mess. Daisy can barely get through introductions without wanting to scrub her hands like a surgeon.

She meets her cousins: Isaac, Eddie, Joe and Piper. They are convivial, welcoming, messy (the boys) and clingy (Piper, who's delighted with another female in the troop). She hangs back, not wanting to play their games or swim their rivers. She is drawn, however, to Edmund, the oldest cousin. He whispers to cows to moooove on when they frighten Daisy, and he shows her the hawk with the broken wing he healed. Awwww.

And then, blam! a bomb. Martial law supplants civil law. Soldiers in far greater numbers than she saw at the airport on arrival. And the girl with the attitude has to become the girl that saves the boys, that defies the authorities, that has to make the attitude work beyond posing in order to survive. Daisy grows from the idyll to the dystopia to the wandering in the wilderness, trying to get home to how she lives now, among dead birds and dead boys.

Unfortunately, the three parts of the film do not hang tight. The characters are not drawn finely enough to build emotional ties among them or to the audience.

Saoirse Ronan does her best with an American accent to effect the part of Daisy as she shifts from callow youth to leader of the pack. Tom Holland, so wonderful in "The Impossible," is pretty good as Isaac, and Harley Bird is an effective Piper, pesky little sister. George MacKay doesn't have much to do as Edmund except be strong and silent and seductive. He's a man, so he manages all three.

"How I Live Now" might appeal to Goth youth who hold no optimism for the future, but it holds no appeal to anyone who likes films that are coherent, evocative and well-layered.

"How I Live Now" opened on November 8, 2013, but is no longer playing at local theaters.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


Karate Bikini - A Simpler Sugar

Wed November 26
Karate Bikini is an eight piece ensemble who's members hail from St. Louis and the metro area. They are a large band with a large sound. Their latest album A Simpler Sugar is full of upbeat pop songs,…

KDHX Recommends

January
Saturday
17

Recording Clinic with Patrick Crecelius

KDHX is proud to host a DIY mixing workshop for musicians at The Stage at KDHX. The clinic will be taught by Patrick Crecelius of Cedar Box Studio. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, his credits include such local artists as Ryan...


January
Sunday
18

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round Welcomes The Boogers

The Boogers are the brainchild of Dr. Paul Crowe. Fatherhood, a PhD in Developmental Psychology, and 20 years of sloggin' it in wretched clubs as a punk rocker - even opening for Dee Dee Ramone and Marky Ramone - formed Paul's...


February
Sunday
01

Discovery Series

The Discovery Series, a 10-event series spanning February to June, 2015, will not only bring you new music, but also music-focused interactive sessions that take a look at how music plays a role in our society. Each month the...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

5 users and 10912 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook