Granted, I generally avoid contact with them at all costs, but the youth of today seem like a dour, gloomy bunch. Look at the massive success of rather bleak young adult novel franchises like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner, among many others, and you start to understand the massive profits of companies that manufacture antidepressants. Director Kevin MacDonald’s (The Last King of Scotland) latest, the upcoming apocalyptic thriller How I Live Now, fits into this category like a glove, as you will see in this new trailer.
Not only does this film fit in with the larger, end of the world trend in YA fiction, but it will also serves as a sort of epilogue to what has been a wildly destructive cinematic summer. Movies like Star Trek Into Darkness, This is the End, After Earth, Oblivion, World War Z, Pacific Rim, and the upcoming The World’s End, have all spread havoc, chaos, and devastation across the globe. How I Live Now doesn’t open until October 4—at least in the UK—so maybe it is more accurate to describe it as a stepping stone between a catastrophic summer season and November, when we’ll see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the second installment of that particular bummer of a franchise.
Based on the best-selling novel by Meg Rostoff, How I Live Now tells the story of an American teenager named Elizabeth (Saoirse Ronan), though as she explains she prefers to go by Daisy. When she goes to stay with distant relatives she falls for a hunky local named Edmond (George MacKay). That all sounds swell, doesn’t it? But things take a decided turn for the worse when a nuclear device goes off. From there it’s tough times, as armed forces take over, Elizabeth is rounded up and taken prisoner by an occupying army, and every decision is life or death.
Though it is based on a book, How I Live Now feels more akin to the bleak apocalyptic movies from the 1970s and 80s rather than the current crop of YA adaptations. For one thing, the book is a one off. What? There’s not an automatic trilogy, or more, to bank on in the future? That sounds certifiably insane considering the current Hollywood logic that is snatching up the rights to YA books that haven’t even been published yet. The film has that overall aesthetic that, though the events may have wide reaching consequences, the story exists on a smaller, more personal scale.
This definitely treads on the darker side of the street. The story contains terrorism, violence, starvation, and death, and there are indications that sexual abuse could come into play. MacDonald did make a movie about everyone’s favorite cannibalistic dictator, Idi Amin, so he’s no stranger to grim subjects, and from what we’ve heard, he doesn’t pull any punches.
Magnolia Pictures recently picked up the North American rights to How I Live Now, but there is no word on when it might hit US shores. Some have speculated that the film could be added to the lineup at either Fantastic Fest or the Toronto International Film Festival, both of which are coming up. Either one may be pushing it, but they’re definite possibilities.