Will (Ben Foster) and his daughter, Tom (Thomasin McKenzie), live a quiet and unconventional life inside a nature reserve near Portland, Oregon. That all changes drastically when the authorities discover them, sending Will and Tom on a turbulent journey to find a new place to call home.
Leave No Trace is an extremely emotional journey – one minute full of hope, the next incredibly bleak. The film covers difficult topics including parenting, PTSD, the idea of home, abandonment, and community in a subtle and low-key way.
A lot of this is a credit to director Debra Granik. Every shot, every cut and every long stretch of complete silence is extremely brutal. Although some may complain that the film is slow moving, I appreciated its steady pace.
The acting is absolutely sublime. Foster and McKenzie are a dynamic force, conquering all the complexities of this unique father-daughter relationship – most without even exchanging a word. McKenzie is exceptionally captivating and I really hope to see more from her in the future.
Final Thoughts: Leave No Trace is a soft, sensitive and thoughtful film that will certainly leave a trace on your heart.