Saoirse Ronan never shies away from an acting challenge. Her roles in "Atonement" and "Lovely Bones" shows she tackles literary masterpieces with verve. "How I Live Now" is based on the book by Meg Rosoff and is different from the recent dystopian teen onslaught by giving a view of what would happen if a major world war happened not in the distant future, but tomorrow. Ronan stars as Daisy, a typical U.S. teen always attached to her ear buds and concerned with fashion and her weight. She's sent to relatives in Britain because her father believes war may break out. The bucolic area of rolling hills and streams only frustrates her. She initially resists her cousin's encouragement to join in their summer exploits. With the help of Eddie, who is strong, compassionate and good with animals, she warms up to her cousins. Then war breaks out. A military state is declared. Daisy's life implodes. Forced to watch and sometimes endure what humanity fears most, Daisy comes of age in a dark time. Less an action film than one about the rites of passage, those rites and that passage will haunt you long after the film ends.
--Cindy F., Headquarters