by Patrick O'Connor

THE Irish actress Saoirse Ronan was one of the youngest actresses ever to be nominated for an Oscar when she played a key role in the 2007 film Atonement.

Now the 19 year old is the focal point for this love story set against the backdrop of a nuclear attack on Britain.

Ronan plays a rebellious American girl Daisy who is sent to the UK to visit her British relatives. The only adult present is called away amidst a backdrop of a worsening political crisis worldwide and Daisy, her three cousins and a young neighbour are left to fend for themselves.

At first she refuses to mix with her hosts, despite an initial attraction to one of her cousins but gradually her mood softens and as Daisy settles down to an idyllic summer lifestyle – picture-book cottage, bathing in a sun-soaked river, cows grazing in glorious meadows – a nuclear strike from an unknown enemy shatters this peaceful countryside haven.

Daisy is forced to grow up pretty quickly as the narrative moves up a gear and the audience is engulfed in a brutal post-nuclear road movie.

The film is based on the 2004 novel of the same name by Meg Rosoff and Ronan is well-supported by a young but very talented cast.

The nature and motives of the enemy are unspecified throughout which adds to the intrigue and this coming-of-age offering has a lot going for it.