Updated On: December 24, 2023 by   Miranne Khaled   Miranne Khaled  

Have you ever experienced the enthralling power of a film that masterfully intertwines passionate romance with captivating speculative drama, leaving you mesmerized? If not, prepare to embark on a cinematic odyssey with How I Live Now, a 2013 masterpiece that weaves a tapestry of love, resilience, and the fragility of human existence against the backdrop of a world teetering on the brink of war.

Adapted from Meg Rosoff’s acclaimed novel of the same name, How I Live Now chronicles the transformative journey of Daisy, an American teenager sent to spend the summer with her estranged cousins in the idyllic English countryside. However, their tranquil retreat is shattered when the specter of World War III looms large, casting a pall over their once-peaceful existence.

The film masterfully juxtaposes the raw vulnerability of adolescence with the harsh realities of war, creating a poignant and unforgettable cinematic experience. Director Kevin Macdonald deftly captures the emotional turmoil and resilience of the characters as they confront the fragility of life and the enduring power of love in the face of unimaginable adversity.

How I Live Now is a cinematic triumph that transcends the boundaries of genre, seamlessly blending elements of romance, drama, and speculative fiction. It is a story of love’s transformative power, the indomitable spirit of human resilience, and the enduring hope for a brighter future amidst the darkest of times. Prepare to be captivated by a film that will linger in your thoughts long after the credits roll.

The Plot of How I Live Now

How I Live Now is a 2013 British romantic drama film directed by Kevin Macdonald and written by Tony Grisoni, Jeremy Brock, and Penelope Skinner. The film is based on the 2004 novel of the same name by Meg Rosoff.

The film is a coming-of-age story about love, loss, and survival. It is also a meditation on the importance of family and the human spirit. How I Live Now was praised by critics for its performances, direction, and screenplay.

It was also nominated for several awards, including the British Independent Film Award for Best British Independent Film

An American Girl Sent to the English Countryside

The film stars Saoirse Ronan as Daisy, a 15-year-old American girl who is sent to live with her aunt Penn (Anna Chancellor) and four cousins on a remote farm in England during the outbreak of a fictional third world war of the 21st century.

Daisy is initially unhappy living in England, but she soon finds solace in her relationship with her cousin Edmond (George MacKay). However, their relationship is threatened by the war, which forces them to flee their home and try to survive on their own.

Finding Love and Purpose in the Time of War

Along the way, Daisy and Edmond learn to rely on each other and develop a deep bond. They also encounter other survivors, including a group of soldiers who take them in and protect them. In the end, Daisy and Edmond are reunited with their family and friends, and they are able to start their lives over again.

In How I Live Now, the main character, Daisy, finds love and a sense of purpose amidst the chaos of war. As an American girl sent to stay with relatives in the English countryside, Daisy never expected to fall for someone or find her place in such a tumultuous time.

But as World War III looms and London is attacked, she discovers new strength within herself and develops a deep connection with another survivor named Edmond. Their relationship gives her hope and motivates her to fight for their survival and freedom.

In this coming-of-age drama set against the backdrop of war, Daisy learns that even in the darkest times, love can provide light and purpose.

Cast and Crew

The film How I Live Now was directed by Kevin Macdonald and stars the talented Saoirse Ronan.

Directed by Kevin Macdonald

Amidst the turbulent landscape of 2013, Kevin McDonald expertly constructed How I Live Now, a mesmerising film that skilfully combines elements of romance, speculation, and drama. This captivating masterpiece delves into profound themes of human resilience and the journey of self-discovery, showcasing McDonald’s exceptional craftsmanship.

Based on Meg Rosoff’s captivating novel, this cinematic masterpiece follows Daisy, played with captivating sincerity by Saoirse Ronan, as she navigates the treacherous landscape of war-torn England. Macdonald’s deft direction weaves a hauntingly beautiful tapestry of love, loss, and the indomitable spirit that blossoms amidst adversity.

With its compelling storytelling and emotional depth, How I Live Now stands as a testament to the power of storytelling to capture the essence of the human experience.

Starring Saoirse Ronan

Saoirse Ronan takes on the lead role of Daisy in How I Live Now. As a talented young actress, Saoirse brings depth and emotion to her character. She skillfully portrays Daisy’s journey from a troubled teenager to someone who finds love and purpose amidst the chaos of war.

Saoirse effectively captivates the audience with her performance, skillfully manoeuvring through perilous and romantic scenes. Her portrayal of Daisy is not only captivating but also establishes a strong sense of relatability, making her a compelling protagonist and fostering a deep connection with viewers.

The chemistry between Saoirse Ronan and her co-stars further enhances the film. The romantic relationship that develops between Daisy and Eddie, played by George MacKay, feels authentic and heartfelt thanks to their strong performances.


Critics had a varied response to the film, with opinions being divided. Some lauded Saoirse Ronan’s performance and the film’s emotional richness, appreciating its depth. On the other hand, some critics believed that the film suffered from a lack of focus and missed opportunities in fully exploring its thematic elements.

Critical Reviews

Upon its release, How I Live Now garnered a range of critical reviews. There were those who commended the film, particularly Saoirse Ronan’s exceptional portrayal of Daisy, highlighting the performances as a standout aspect.

Conversely, some viewers found the narrative to be somber and disheartening, evoking an unsettling ambiance. Notwithstanding these contrasting viewpoints, the film remains a compelling choice for enthusiasts of introspective dramas and distinctive storytelling, warranting a viewing for those seeking thought-provoking cinema.

Audience Reviews

How I Live Now elicited a range of reactions from viewers, dividing audiences into those who were profoundly moved by its poignant narrative of love and resilience, and those who found its bleak atmosphere and meandering plot disengaging.

While Saoirse Ronan’s portrayal of Daisy garnered praise for its depth and vulnerability, some found the characters underdeveloped and the overall story lacking in relatability. Ultimately, How I Live Now stands as a polarising cinematic experience, captivating some with its emotional intensity while leaving others yearning for more.

How I Live Now is a complex and emotionally resonant film that has elicited strong reactions from viewers. While some found its bleak atmosphere and meandering plot to be off-putting, others were deeply moved by its poignant story of love and survival.

Awards and Nominations

How I Live Now received several awards and nominations. Saoirse Ronan, who played the lead role of Daisy, was nominated for Best Actress at the Empire Awards and the Irish Film & Television Awards.

The film itself was nominated for the Golden Trailer Award for Best Independent Poster. Although it didn’t win any major awards, “How I Live Now” was recognized for its strong performances and compelling story.

It’s always exciting to see deserving movies get recognition from the industry!

Behind the Scenes

The film How I Live Now is based on the novel by Meg Rosoff, which serves as the foundation for its speculative fiction storyline. Filming took place in various locations, including the enchanting English countryside.

The production details and creative choices made by director Kevin Macdonald bring this captivating story to life on the big screen. To delve deeper into the behind-the-scenes process of making this film, click here.

Novel by Meg Rosoff

How I Live Now is a film adaptation of the novel by Meg Rosoff. The book was published in 2004 and served as the inspiration for the movie. It tells the story of Daisy, an American girl who is sent to live with her relatives in the English countryside.

As war breaks out across the world, Daisy finds love and purpose while fighting for survival. Meg Rosoff’s novel explores themes of love, freedom, and finding strength in a hostile world.

The film captures the haunting atmosphere of the book and brings its powerful story to life on screen.

Filming Locations

How I Live Now was filmed in various locations across England. The beautiful English countryside served as the backdrop for Daisy’s journey, capturing the idyllic setting and stark contrast to the impending war.

Some scenes were shot in Herefordshire, showcasing its picturesque landscapes and rural charm. We also filmed in London, capturing the chaos and devastation of a city under attack.

These different filming locations added depth and authenticity to the story, allowing viewers to immerse themselves in Daisy’s world during this tumultuous time.

Filming for How I Live Now took place in various locations throughout England, including London and the picturesque countryside. The production team worked hard to bring Rosoff’s novel to life on the big screen, capturing both the beauty of nature and the intensity of war.

How I Live Now is a gripping romantic drama that takes viewers on an emotional journey. Despite receiving mixed reviews, the movie effectively delves into themes of love, survival, and finding strength in difficult times. Overall, How I Live Now serves as a thought-provoking exploration of adolescence and the human spirit in the face of war.

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