TIFF 2013 Review: How I Live Now
How I Live Now
“Do it with a Rock Star,” an energetic punk song by the incomparable Amanda Palmer, is cranked on the headphones of Daisy when we first meet her. That, paired with a steady glare and uncanny ability to be easily aggravated lets you know that she is not thrilled with really anything in life.
Daisy, whose real name is Elizabeth and is played by Saoirse Ronan, is arriving in England to stay with extended family having been sent away from her father in America. Her utterly boring pouty attitude is instantly recognizable as standard teenage angst. She is greeted on an idyllic pastoral home, complete with an aquatic escape, and the group of youngsters includes a tall, strapping man named Edmond, the kind of quiet brooding type.
Daisy pouts evermore.
Well, almost. She predictably changes heart, but just as her steely exterior warms, European geopolitical tensions turns to action as war breaks out across England. The kids are forced to leave their comforts, they are separated, and life is thrown in ruin.
The journey that follows in the shadow of war is far more interesting symbolically as it is somewhat absurd literally. Still, there are too many themes and tones pushing and pulling for one to be particularly potent. Ronan does her best with a feeble script, but adult responsibility does not mesh with teenage romance. It’s not enough, as a film that is at times eerily quiet and beautifully scenic lacks anything but sights and sounds.
Tuesday September 10 – Winter Garden Theatre – 8:00 PM
Wednesday September 11 – The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema – 3:00 PM