Stream-It Sunday: How I Live Now (Movie)

Stream-It Sunday: How I Live Now (Movie)

Have I mentioned that I am the unofficial Queen of Streaming?

We don't have cable or satellite television, so the majority of my television consumption is thanks to my beloved Roku box. (Note to self: Write a post about how we don't have cable & manage to watch a crap-ton of television.) I dig pretty deep into the streaming services for my screen time. 

For awhile now I've been meaning to start an irregular series with my recommendations for finds on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant, and so on. I thought I'd kick off this series by featuring a movie I watch with week on Netflix, the film adaptation of Meg Roscoff's How I Live Now. 

How I Live Now is an interesting study in contrasts, which is why I liked it so much. 

American teenager Daisy (the wonderful Saoirse Ronan)--a compulsive hand-washer who seems to be grappling with unspoken demons--is sent to rural England to stay with relatives, amidst the backdrop of growing world tensions. While her aunt is away in Switzerland, the child run free, until a third World War breaks out and England is occupied. For awhile, the kids live idyllic unsupervised lives and Daisy falls in love. The kids are split up and the second half of the movie is very much a war film, with Daisy and her young cousin Piper trying to make their way back to the farmhouse. 

The contrast between the dreamy life at the farm and the ugliness makes How I Live Now a dark, challenging movie that's part love story, part war narrative, part character study. Even though it features teen characters, it has an R rating and some folks worried it was "too dark" for an American audience, which is fascinating to me on a number of levels.

While I've read How I Live Now, I'm not a super-fan of the novel.

I recognize that it's a pretty brilliant novel, but some details didn't sit with me all that well. And, because of that, I think I preferred the movie version of this story over the book. 

Daisy and love interest Edmond have been aged up, and this was a good change--it lent of a sense of maturity to the film that, for me, helped the story. The filmmakers also seemed to tone-down the familial relationship that many readers (understandably) found problematic in the book. In the novel, Daisy has an eating disorder, but in the film, her struggles are more vague, manifesting themselves in hand-washing and a cacophony of voices representing her frenetic thoughts. 

I highly recommend How I Live Now. It's gritty and Saoirse Ronan is fantastic. It's everything I'd hoped the Tomorrow, When the War Began movie would be (and wasn't). 

Stream It: Netflix | Amazon Instant | iTunes

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