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How I Live Now

Character: Isaac

Directed by: Kevin Macdonald

Written by: Jeremy Brock, Jeremy Brock, Tony Grisoni

Produced by: Meg Rosoff

Cast Members: John Battsek, Alasdair Flind, Andrew Ruhemann, Charles Steel

Released date: Saoirse Ronan, Meg Rosoff, George MacKay, Harley Bird, Anna Chancellor

Episode(s) Number: 4 October 2013 (UK)

Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Duration: 1h 41min

An American girl, sent to the English countryside to stay with relatives, finds love and purpose while fighting for her survival as war envelops the world around her.



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Daisy, a neurotic American teenager, is sent to the English countryside for the summer to stay with her Aunt Penn and her cousins, Eddie, Isaac, and Piper. She arrives at Heathrow Airport to tightened security and reports of a bombing in Paris, and Isaac drives to her cousins’ farm, which she discovers to be dilapidated and very messy. Although initially abrasive, Daisy warms to them upon learning that her deceased mother used to stay there frequently. She also falls in love with Eddie, her eldest cousin, finding him to be as introverted and strong-willed as she, and noticing his unusual, almost mystical connection to animals. A few days after her arrival, her aunt flies to Geneva to attend an emergency conference because she is an expert in terrorist extremist groups, and the group takes advantage of her absence to explore their local woodlands.

Their summer fun ends when a terrorist coalition detonates a nuclear bomb in London that potentially kills hundreds of thousands; the nuclear fallout reaches as far away as their home. In the aftermath, electricity goes out, and they learn from an emergency radio broadcast that martial law has been imposed. The next day, an American consular official arrives at the house and offers Daisy passage home. Unable to help her cousins, he advises them to remain indoors and wait for evacuation. After they move to a nearby barn, Daisy has sex with Eddie and decides that she would rather stay with them. The next day, however, the British Army storms the shelter and takes them to a nearby town. There, they learn boys and girls are to be evacuated to separate parts of the country. Both Eddie and Daisy resist separation, and Daisy is restrained with cable ties; Eddie calls to her to return to their home when she gets the chance. Daisy and Piper are taken to the home of a British Army major and his wife, who foster them. Determined to escape, Daisy discreetly begins hoarding supplies, but their neighbourhood is attacked by the enemy before she has time to take everything she needs.

As Daisy and Piper hike through the countryside, Daisy interprets her dreams of Eddie as indications of his current situation. One night, Daisy is woken up and witnesses a gang-rape. She and Piper flee, but after Piper starts whining, Daisy threatens to abandon her. Already disturbed by the prior experience, they discover a massacre at the camp where Isaac and Eddie were taken. Daisy reluctantly checks the bodies; although Eddie is not among the dead, Isaac’s body is. She mournfully takes his glasses and later buries them. As they leave, they are spotted by two armed men, who chase them through the woods. Piper and Daisy decide to hide, but the men discover Piper. Daisy threatens them with a gun and impulsively shoots them both; she kills one and wounds the other. The horror of what she has done, along with her fears, begins to take its toll on Daisy. Later, she realises that they have lost their map and compass, and the girls are on the verge of giving up when they see Eddie’s pet hawk fly overhead. They realise it will lead them home and follow it.

Upon arriving home, their elation turns to horror when they discover that the military garrison stationed there has been massacred; the house is ransacked and empty; only Jet, Piper’s dog, remains. Eddie is not at the barn where they took shelter either, and although Piper is elated to be home, Daisy breaks down in tears outside. The next day, however, the two hear Jet barking, and Daisy runs out into the woods, where she finds Eddie lying unconscious; he has severe burns, gashes, and his eyes are swollen shut. As she nurses him, a ceasefire is announced, electricity is returned, a new government forms, and the country begins to recover. However, it becomes clear Eddie suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and is mute. After he accidentally cuts himself while gardening, Daisy tenderly sucks the blood from his cut, which mimics his actions earlier. She kisses Eddie, hoping he may soon recover.


Budget: $8,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend USA: $28,547, 10 November 2013
Gross USA: $60,213
Cumulative Worldwide Gross: $925,762


Filming started in June 2012 and finished on August 2012, it took place in both England and Wales.


The critic’s consensus from Rotten Tomatoes says that the film is “Led by another strong performance from Saoirse Ronan and a screenplay that subverts YA clichés, How I Live Now blends young love with post-apocalyptic drama.66% of 109 critics rated it positively, that being 72 rating it fresh and 37 rotten; the average rating is 6.23/10. For the audience score, out of +8.000 ratings, it has 55% out of 100%, giving it 3.37/5 stars.

On Metacritic, based on 29 critics, it has 57% out of 100%, 13 critics calling it positive, 15 are mixed, and only 1 negative. And the user score, based on 38 ratings, gave it a 6.6/10, with 21 users calling it positive, 15 mixed, and 2 negatives.


      • Director Kevin Macdonald had originally intended the cast to be all unknown or amateur actors and actresses.
      • Director Kevin Macdonald chose to film the first half of this movie with a hand held camera to give the paradise-like countryside home a sense of humanity, as though the camera was alive and breathing. The second half of this movie was shot in a more steady and smoother style to make the war torn countryside more sharp and unforgiving, as though the camera was mechanical.
      • In the book, Eddie has Issac’s personality. In this movie, Isaac has Eddie’s personality.
      • In the book, Eddie and Isaac are twins, both fourteen-years-old, and they have an older brother called Osbert, who is sixteen. He hangs out with his own friends and is not a part of the tight group of siblings with whom Daisy becomes close. In this movie, Eddie is older than Isaac, and is the oldest sibling. Also, in this movie, Eddie communicates with animals – which is Isaac’s trait in the book. In the book, Eddie can read people the way Isaac can read animals.
      • In the book, Eddie picks up Daisy from the airport. In this movie, Isaac picks her up from the airport.
      • At the end of the book, Eddie and Isaac live. At the end of this movie, Eddie lives and Isaac dies.


Piper: I keep thinking about mom.
Isaac: Mom’s in Switzerland. Nothing ever happens in Switzerland.

Isaac: If you want, I can make you a sandwich. We’ve got some really nice cheese.
Daisy: No, I don’t do wheat or cow cheese.
Isaac: Why don’t you eat “cow cheese”?
Daisy: Because it’s basically solidified cow mucus. It stays in your gut for like five years.

Isaac: Hey we’re gonna go swimming before Sally gets here and makes us eat vegetables. Wanna come?
Daisy: I don’t swim.
Isaac: It’s like a really special place, you’ll love it. Last chance to have some fun before the fascist regime.
Daisy: Uh huh. Maybe next time.
Isaac: Okay.



Year  Award  Category  Results 
 2013 Adelaide Film Festival Best Feature  Nominated
 2013 Chicago International Film Festival Chicago International Film Festival  Nominated
 2014 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Best International Film  Nominated


Script developed by Never Enough Design