Chandler, Arizona, United States

There's an old saying. If you don't want someone to join a crowd, you ask them, "If everyone were jumping off of a cliff, would you?" Well, I have. So my answer would be "Yes". True story.
Profile continued . . .

Review of How I Live Now

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

this entry brought to you by the dodos, "going under"

Daisy, an American teen, hair bleached, torn 80s punk band shirts and skinny jeans, is sent to live with her Aunt and cousins in the English countryside, so rustic and gorgeous it seems out of another century entirely compared to her. Played by the lovely Saoirse Ronan, she initially comes off so caustic and hostile I instantly hated her and wasn't sure I had any interest in watching her for the next hour and a half, a so-sullen teenager she was a parody of teenaged sullen girls. But as she warmed to her cousins and to her situation-- she clearly resented being sent to England-- I warmed to her as well. She began to remind me of several caustic girls I knew in my own youth.

A funny thing happens during her stay in England; she falls in love with her oldest cousin, Isaac, a stoic redheaded god who looks a bit like Ron Weasley's oldest sibling if he were the Brawny man. It's strange watching a movie in 2014 with this kind of plot device-- Flowers in the Attic was the 1970s, after all-- especially handled so delicately here and without a hint of exploitation. When the movie began I saw that it was made by British production company, which, with its American lead, confused me. But as the two teen cousins began to look at each other lustfully, it was obvious why no American movie studio would ever shoot it as is.

All this is happening as World War 3 develops, and a nuclear bomb goes off in the middle of London. The boys are separated from the girls and sent to camps as Daisy promises to meet her love back home, that she'll escape wherever it is they take here and meet him there. What makes How I Live Now work is the insecurity of the coming danger, always off in the horizon. Bombs explode just miles away, smoke billows in the gorgeous woods, somewhere not too far. Daisy and her youngest cousin escape the camps just as the horrors of war encompass them, and as they make the days long trek back home, violence happens just sporadically enough that you're kept on edge, just often enough that you can see these children losing their minds out there in the wilderness.

How I Live Now is luscious movie filled with poetic dream sequences and cold violence, a metaphor itself for love and especially young love; stupid and rash and illogical, but enough to look forward to, enough to pull one out of one's shell. And as uncomfortable the whole kissing cousins plot device made me, it made me feel exactly as alien and confused as I was when I was that age, falling in love for the first time.

with love from CRS @ 11:41 AM 


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