Kevin Macdonald’s slightly drab adaptation of Meg Rosoff’s popular teen novel would be nothing without Saoirse Ronan playing pain-in-ass Daisy. Poker-straight bleached hair, angry black eyeliner and huffy snarl, she’s perfect as Rosoff’s prickly, vulnerable 16-year-old – dumped in the English countryside for the summer to live with her boho British cousins as Word War III breaks out. Which is not as bad as it sounds since Daisy is hot for cousin Edmond (George MacKay). While aunt Penn (Anna Chancellor), a terrorism expert, is stuck in Oslo brokering world peace, a nuclear bomb goes off in London, leaving the kids home alone.
In this parent-free zone, Daisy and Edmond’s deep-and-meaningfuls rev up into full-on romance. There’s not really enough here to get teenage girls totes emosh. Not enough to sigh and swoon over; not enough ‘OMG-did-she-really-do-that?!’ moments. What’s mostly missing is the funny-sarky, real voice of Rosoff’s stroppy lovable heroine.