Thursday, September 12, 2013

TIFF 2013: How I Live Now (Wonderful)

After yesterday's weirdness, How I Live Now was a refreshing comeback. Set in rural England where bitchy, selfish, feeling sorry for herself "Nobody calls me Elisabeth" American teen Daisy finds herself exiled for the summer with her step-cousins, whom she finds silly, provincial and worst of all dirty - well except for Edmund, who is dreamy in that I-can-control-the-animals sort of way. Just as she is starting to warm up to the cousins, all hell breaks loose in the form of World War III or something like it, and the group is separated by the army as they evacuate everyone to "secure zones" (maybe) and put them to work in the war effort. Daisy forgets most of her previous troubles as she focuses on how to survive, and how to find her way back to Edmund and bring the family back together. Sounds like kind of a sappy love story, but the horror of war and what it does to people is very real, and Daisy's transformation is convincing. Outstanding performances, especially from the lead couple (Irish actress Saoirse Ronan is very convincing as an American teenager), beautiful scenery used as the backdrop to ugly war and a story that works. Probably my favorite of the 9 films I've seen so far.

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