Star – Saoirse Ronan
Genre – Drama
Run Time – 101 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – U.K
Awards – 1 Win & 7 Nominations
Amazon – £3.98 DVD (Blue Ray £2.97)
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In Ken Livingstone’s epic autobiography he talks about contingency plans the Greater London Council had to set up in conjunction with the military in the event of nuclear war and an inevitable strike on the capital. Apparently the important survivors would be choppered out, as you would expect, but the rest left to fend for themselves in the desolation of London. And I mean left alone as anyone attempting to flee the city to the countryside would be gunned down by the army at roadblocks and by patrols, no questions asked. The countryside would be the new food source and simply not enough food to go around and so for continuation of population the radio active people from London didn’t figure. ‘The Way I live Now’ is a film that explores that aftermath of the possibility of a terror strike or war here and the part the countryside would play after it. It’s an interesting outcome to explore through a fiction movie.
It’s based on a book by the same name by Meg Rosof and from director Kevin Macdonald, he of ‘The Last king of Scotland’ and ‘State of Play’, amongst others although these low budget movies very different from his normal stuff. It looks like vanity project he needed to do and the fact it made no money because very few people actually saw it and I suspect he will return to his big budget world very soon. It stars the exciting Irish American actress Saoirse Ronan, Oscar nominated for Brooklyn, and the star as that ass kicking kid in the rather underrated Hanna.
Saoirse Ronan ... Daisy
Tom Holland ... Isaac
George MacKay ... Eddie
Harley Bird ... Piper
Danny McEvoy ... Joe
Edmond Holland ….Edmond
Anna Chancellor ... Aunt Penn
Stella Gonet ... Mrs. McEvoy
Des McAleer ... Major McEvoy...
15-year-old American Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) has just touched down in England to stay with her English Aunt (Anna Chancellor) and cousins in the idyllic Sussex countryside, escaping her evil stepmother in the US. There are soldiers everywhere and the U.K. preparing for some sort of invasion and military conflict, a situation spreading across Europe.
14-year-old cousin Issac (Tom Holland) picks her up from the airport in a Landover, barely seeing over the wheel, the rules out the window in wartime it seems. Her other cousins on the secluded farm are Isaacs twin brother Osbert (Edmond Holland) and 8-year-old and playful Piper (Harley Bird). 14-year-old Joe (Danny McEvoy) is a friend and hangs out with them.
Daisy is a typical moody teenager and low in confidence in being away from home but soon perks up when the arrival of handsome cousin Eddie (George MacKay), who turns up with his kestrel and broad shoulders. Its love at first site and reason to stick around, Daisy soon bonding with the family as her homesickness wanes. Their guardian Auntie Penn is a diplomat and working on a peace conference to try and stop the war expanding and reassures the kids there will be no Third World War in Britain. But whilst away in Oslo at the Peace Conference she is wrong, some sort of nuclear detonation in London killing hundreds of thousands and sending menacing dust over the Home Counties and on to the family farm and so an unseen invasion of sorts underway.
The cottage power dies and the kids hide in the barn as the skies darken, swearing never to leave. But the Army arrives and they are all taken away for their own safety as the unknown enemy advance. The boys are put on one military truck and the girls on another. The women and girls are put to work in the countryside to farm and grow crops to help the country and Issac, Osbert and Eddies fete unknown. But Eddie swears he will return to the cottage and be waiting for her, whatever happens, something for Daisy to cling on to as she turns down the opportunity to return home to America with an embassy escort and passport.
Refreshingly free of digital apocalyptics and centered on solid acting this engaging drama is well worth a look. It’s unnervingly prone to acts of random violence lurking in the woods to keep you on edge as every man appears to want to rape the females and realistic that way as when law breaks down we return to our animal instincts to survive. Anything goes, as we see in East London right now.
Saoirse Ronan is good at expressing teenage girl anxieties and the themes of teen love with the young man will earn the film a younger audience, be it inter-cousin taboo. It is a bit Darling Buds of May at times and the kids straight from a Harry Potter movie but you enjoy their idyllic freedom early on and blend into the mood. Then the gentle breeze of fallout washes over them and a very different and darker move takes over as you sense the kid’s vulnerability and their unknown fete, be it from the marauding often unseen rebels dressed in black or the state itself, perhaps culling people that are surplus to requirements. There is more than a suggestion of that in this movie. How would what’s left of the country cope in a nuclear war and how far would the government do to keep control? You don’t get many films were war is raging in the United Kingdom in contemporary times and so interesting for that reason. Children of Men with Clive Owen is the last one I can think of and then there was that one where the Nazis successfully invade Great Britain in 1944.
On the whole its appeal is its different and atmospheric and not some dystopian black at heart action movie. It’s mostly suggested violence and that mostly due to the low budget here, barely £100,000 spent on it, barely half that coming back in rental fees. Needless to say it’s a low budget decent indie and so no one has seen it because it struggled to get a widespread release in the US multiplex chains here. It’s a big problem for British movies now, 90% of films in our cinemas now made overseas which just doesn’t seem right. I think you can catch this on Film4 and something for those who don’t like mainstream movies, perhaps. It’s not quite a good movie as it has a few holes in the plot and we never really know anything about the war and enemy with hardly no adult presence it ends up a bit Lord of the Flies by the end. But I enjoyed it and got enough out of it to recommend to you guys.
Imdb.com –6.5 /10.0 (20,172votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 67% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 57% critic’s approval
Leonard Maltin Film Book –
The Mail –‘aoirse Ronan supplies what the screenwriters do not’
New City –‘Lush and bewilderingly rich with portent and moment, Kevin Macdonald's gently wrought apocalyptic-pop teen romance takes place in a deadly near future in the English countryside far from the center of modern war’.
Movie Mezzanine –‘How I Live Now is likely to appeal to both teens and older viewers, and it thankfully doesn't blindly follow formulas, but allows itself to drift and flow’
Concrete Playground –‘On the outside, How I Live Now looks like a mess. Part Tomorrow When the War Began, part The Shining, part 28 Days Later, it's a hodgepodge of concepts that don't completely gel. So it's weird that the film is actually quite good’.
SF Weekly –‘The target audience probably won't worry much about whether there's a more effective way to split the difference between world's-end anxiety and the possibly greater tumult of adolescent love’.
Examiner.com –‘It's easy to see what the filmmakers were going for: a story of young love and survival during wartime, but there are far too many holes in this story and a lack of essential ingredients to make it work’.
If you live in Wolverhampton like myself and want to see the latest blockbuster you have three options: watch it at Cineworld in Bentley Bridge, watch it at the smaller independent Lighthouse, or wait for said blockbuster on DVD. Yes, Cineworld is the only non-independent, big-chain cinema available in all of Wolverhampon, so as you can imagine I visit this place quite often if my friends and family want to see one of the latest films.
Cineworld is located at Bentley Bridge, which is in fact not in the city centre but a retail park in Wednesfield (a couple of miles outside it). Whilst I live in Wednesfield and am fortunate Cineworld is only a 25 minute walk away, this makes it very difficult for people who live on the other side of the city to get here, but personally I think the location is worth it. As I said, Bentley Bridge is a retail park so not only are there plenty of car park spaces and good transport links but also you can make a day out of the trip- right next to Cineworld is a bowling alley, Chiquitos restaurant, KFC, McDonalds and more.
When you head inside the box office is right in front of you, with 3 windows max to separately queue in. The box office is obviously the place where you see what films are on and purchase tickets. There are screens along the top indicating the times of films, flashing between that and AVAIL (tickets available), FEW (though it doesn't give specific numbers) and FULL. Box office staff are very friendly, usually greeting me with a smile and will ask specifics if necessary (e.g. 2D or 3D).
Beyond that is a massive area where different area are along the edges of the massive reception: going clockwise from the left we have the pick'n'mix shop, a corridor leading to seven cinema screens, the popcorn and snacks counter, another corridor leading to seven screens and the arcade room. There are also telephones, card payment ticket machines, trailer screens along the walls and a few places to sit and wait near to the entrance/exit. Since everything is off to the side there is a huge space in the center. This makes it a great place to wait on friends or queueing for snacks (which also splits into three or four queues because it's along the back wall of the building).
Regarding prices, to be honest I'm not the best judge since this is the only big cinema in the area and the cinema I go to while I'm at university is a Vue in Staines, but I've listed the main prices here:
Adult (after 5pm Mon, Wed-Fri, all day Sat-Sun): £7.40
Adult (before 5pm Mon, Wed-Fri): £5.70
Child (14 & Under)/Student/Senior (Mon, Wed-Sun): £5.50
Bargain Tuesday: £4.80
Note that there is an additional charge for 3D films on top of the ticket price as well as an 80p charge for a pair of glasses. Fortunately 3D is still optional here, and with good reason since it feels quite extortionate.
These 2D prices however I think are pretty reasonable. Furthermore you can see there are discounts for the elderly and students, plus there is Bargain Tuesday where the ticket price of £4.80 is across the board regardless of the time you watch a film- an excellent deal! For younger kids Movies for Juniors is held on Saturday mornings for £1, which is a great way for children to have a fun time with friends and watch a movie while parents can get something else done in the meantime.
There are a variety of concessions available: ice cream, drinks and, most importantly, popcorn (either salted or sweet). From memory, a small bag of popcorn costs £3.50, regular £3.70 and large £3.90. The size differences are noticeable and so my sister and I will share a large bag between us and get sick of it towards the end of the movie, meaning not all of them are eaten. I enjoy the cineworld popcorn though sometimes I find a few kernels at the bottom of my bag, a bit unusual since the popping is done in a huge machine. Unfortunately if you think these prices are too much for you then you will have to be extra sneaky to bring your own food in because this is not allowed on the premises.
Once you've bought your ticket you head to the corridor of the screen indicated, give the ticket to another staff member to rip in half like they do, and then proceed to the screen or wait in the corridor next to it if a queue is indicated. The largest screens must fit about 300 people in them and are typically designed like a theatre stage with stairs arranged in a half-circle ascending upwards. Smaller screens are along a flat room with roughly 100 chairs just going back to the door. The screens are large and widescreen and the surround sound is always really crisp. One thing I've noticed is that the film times are usually five minutes off; for example, I go and watch a film where the time says 13:00, but it begins showing adverts and trailers at 13:05. This is just a nitpick really, since you're going to see half an hour of stuff before the actual film anyway.
For most experiences the screens are clean and there usually isn't mess from previous showings, especially since staff come and clean up after customers have left and before the next showing there. It's not perfect though, as sometimes you will find chewing gum on the floor/underneath your seat, but I will admit this isn't easy for staff to remove if you're on a tight cleanup schedule.
Overall I'd say Cineworld Wolverhampton definitely has many things going for it. The place is spacious, the staff friendly and the screens give a great experience. The prices are OK, although I think the 3D isn't worth the extra hike if you can avoid it (but that goes with every cinema to be fair). If you're ever in Wolverhampton and are invited along to the cinema then you'll certainly find Cineworld serves you well.
I try to get to the cinema whenever I can as I love seeing new films on the big screen with my popcorn by my side. This cinema is not near where I live but I often go with my sister and when we do we try to go to Cineworld in Wolverhampton. This cinema is a great cinema where everything is clean, tidy and although it may be a little more pricy than some cinemas I would rather go there and guarantee a good cinema viewing experience and here is why.
First the address:
Bentley Bridge Leisure Park,
Now the cinema is located within a nice leisure park which has a pizza hut and Chiquitos and Dorothy Perkins, Home Bargains, Hobbycraft and a huge Boots. This is good if you fancy like a bite to eat or a little bit of a shop before or after the cinema as I like to make the cinema trip last longer and make a proper day or night of it. It is a nice park which does get a little busy but you can always find a parking space and I have been when everywhere seems to be packed.
Parking is free at this cinema and you walk in and you will immediately see all of the film times listed above where you pay. Now prices are usually £6.20 for an adult but if you get there before 5 then you will be able to get in for £4.20 which is a massive saving. Students manage to get away with £4.70 which is good.
The cinema is clean and has a small area where you can buy sweets and then a slightly bigger area where you can buy your drinks, hot dogs, nachos and popcorn. The prices are not bad with small popcorn being about £2.50 and a drink being around the same. The food is fresh and I have never had a problem with it. I say fresh but I mean as fresh as you can expect within a cinema.
You have to go through to the cinema screens and all tickets are always checked thoroughly. Now the screens are quite big and the cinema screen is massive and takes over the whole side of the wall. The seats are staggered nicely so you do not get a head in front of you very often and they are quite comfortable.
Now you know when you go into cinemas and you get that nasty sticky feeling to your shoes whenever you go anywhere? Well you don't get this in this cinema as the floors are spotless. There are bins so you can deposit your rubbish which most people do do and there are plenty of seats where you can all see the screen perfectly.
Now the film quality is fantastic and I have never encountered a problem while they have been playing the film.
Staff are plentiful and do check the screening every so often so if anybody is playing up then they will get found out. The staff are friendly enough and keep themselves to themselves a lot of the time.
Now I am not saying this is the best cinema in the world and I am sure they do encounter problems but I have never had any. You can call the cinema and ask them anything and they will do their best to answer you. You do get some problem people in there but they get thrown out or behave as it is quite strict here.
I think if you are in the area then it is a good cinema to go to.
Thanks for reading.