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Plot: Will (Ben Foster) and his teenage daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), have lived off the grid for years in the forests of Portland, Oregon. When their idyllic life is shattered, both are put into social services. After clashing with their new surroundings, Will and Tom set off on a… Runtime: 109 min Release Date: 29 Jun 2018
One of my all-time favorite films, but it might not be yours. (by paul-591)
One of my all-time favorite films, but it might not be yours. This is the first film I've actually reviewed after 10+ years on IMDb. Clearly some people are unimpressed by this film and others think it's amazing; I am in the latter category.I'm also someone who, when I was a kid, fantasized about what it would be like to live off the land and away from people. This is a truly unique film in that it does not spell it out for you; does not have a position; it does not have villains; It is willing to let you make your own conclusions. Clearly this bothers some people, as does the <more>
pace. Speaking for myself, I was never bored. I was riveted from beginning to end. I had never seen the trailer, and I would recommend not seeing the trailer.A main complaint from those who don't like it seems to be there are enough bad people; I actually found this refreshing. I don't meet many bad, evil people in my every day life; most people are pretty cool, I find. I actually felt the fundamental premise of the movie was realistic and I appreciated that it was willing to skip ahead and not spell out every beat. Or fill in the backstory. A good film can choose the story it wants to tell and does not need to fill in every interstitial space or to mimic the way things would necessarily unfold in the real world. I suppose it could be a realistic criticism that things could never quite happen this way, but it certainly did not bother me. I thought this film portrays people - and I mean all the characters in the film, not just the primary two - that are too rarely portrayed in film, but do exist in our world.As everyone seems to agree, the cinematography and acting are extraordinary. I also thought the story was unique and refreshing, and for me at least, the pacing was perfect. I believe I benefited from having no idea where it was going to go, so I would recommend skipping the trailer and seeing it for whatever reason compels you. Perhaps just the beautiful, green forests of the Pacific Northwest.
A beautiful relationship between her and her damaged father. Did not feel like a movie. I felt that I was living their life. So emotional.
Foster and McKenzie deliver Oscar worthy performances. One of the year's best films. (by george.schmidt)
LEAVE NO TRACE 2018 **** Ben Foster, Thomasin McKenzie, Dana Millican, Jeff Kober, Dale Dickey. Excellent drama about a father/daughter relationship on the fringes of society with Foster and McKenzie delivering Oscar worthy performances as a damaged veteran and his coming of age daughter who both seek to make their family work at any costs. Filmmaker Debra Granik, who co-adapted the screenplay with Anne Rosellini based on Peter Rock's novel "My Abandonment", elicits heartfelt performances, tough choices and matter-of-fact reality of how inhumanity to man is perhaps the <more>
Leave No Trace poignantly flourishes in depicting a dynamically engrossing family bond. (by TheMovieDiorama)
Indie dramas just keep getting better as the years go by. The freedom to be experimental whilst conveying a captivating story makes for a vastly enthralling cinematic experience than the average Hollywood drama. It's no different here, with director Granik perfectly balancing emotional heft with relentless drama. A father and his young daughter live in isolation within a shrouded urban forest, where one mistake leads them into being found by the local authorities. The eloquence and minimalism in Granik's screenplay allows the story to be told visually. The peaceful environment and <more>
rural American culture juxtapose the bustling highways of urban society. Yet they complement each other to create an ecosystem for humanity. The same is applied to this relationship. The father, fearful of being discovered and conforming to the aristocracy of modern civilisation, contrasts with his daughter who yearns for environmental stability. After experiencing a glimpse of normality, she envies them. However, it's the bond between them that truly captivated me. They never argue. They never bicker. They understand one another. Mistakes are forgiven, opportunities are seized. It was honestly beautiful to watch. Foster who is becoming rather commendable with his work and McKenzie were sensational together, feeding emotions through just their eyes. Granik utilises plenty of horizonal techniques to illustrate these two characters amongst the overwhelmingly luscious foliage. McDonough's cinematography was gorgeous, bountiful of green filters and natural lighting. My only gripe is the lack of backstory, particularly with the mother, which would've elevated the emotional response for the story's conclusion. But what I really appreciate is the unobtrusive approach to what could've been a sensationalistic plot, and the lack of pretentiousness further cements Granik as a mature director who really should be directing more films. A near perfect drama with outstanding performances that deserves your undivided attention.
One of the best movies of the year, period (by paul-allaer)
"Leave No Trace" 2018 release; 110 min. brings the story of an army veteran with PTSD Will and his 13 or 14 yr. old daughter Tom . As the movie opens, we get to know Will and Tom, who are living off the grid, literally, in a large park near Portland. They are chopping wood, tending to the fire, fixing a bite to eat. No mention of where the mother is. Then some days later, disaster strikes: Tom is spotted by someone, who call the park rangers and Portland Police. It's not long before Will and Tom are located and taken in for further questioning apparently it's illegal <more>
to "live" on public parks . At this point we are less than 15 min. into the movie but to tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.Couple of comments: this is the long overdue return from writer-director Debra Granik, who some years ago brought the outstanding "Winter's Bone" Granik did an under-the-radar documentary between these 2 movies . Here Granik looks at the impact of PTDS on an army veteran and his daughter. The veteran battles demons in his sleep, and restlessness when he's awake, causing them to move from part to park. This is a plot-heavy movie, so I really don't want to say much more than that. Just watch. Ben Foster brings an accomplished performance as Will. But the show is really stolen by the astonishing and breakout performance by relative newcomer Thomasin McKenzie as Tom, the daughter who wants to support so badly. Surely this is just the beginning that we've seen of her, and I can't wait to see what she'll do next. Last but certainly not least, the movie's photography in Oregon is colorful and lush, just eye-candy. Please note that this movie is rated PG, but in my opinion should not be viewed by kids younger than, say, 12. Not because there is anything "wrong" in the movie, but I guarantee you that young kids will simply be bored. So PG rated, but not really a kids film."Leave No Trace" opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. The Saturday matinee screening where I saw this at was PACKED, I am very happy to report the 95 degree weather nay have had something to do with that . "Leave No Trace" is one of those rare movies that is 100% certified fresh Rotten Tomatoes. Yes, it is that good! If you are in the mood for a wonderful character study of an army veteran with PTSD with his young daughter, I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion/ For me, "Leave No Trace" is a WINNER all the way.
Rather than pen a hefty set of paragraphs, let me point out some brilliant but tiny artistic touches that compensate for what some viewers might find the movie's slow action. I do not think they rise to the level of genuine spoilers: a the name given to one of the 4H club's rabbits, b "Tom's" subtle but poignant facial gestures, and c a pair of wordless sounds she and her father use for secret communication. As with much fine art, less is more...
an engaging and touching tale that leaves a warm glow (by CineMuseFilms)
Framing a story through the outlier's point of view is a self-reflective device that makes us to look at ourselves through the eyes of the marginalised other. It usually adopts a single perspective but Leave No Trace 2018 is as multi-layered as a Russian doll. Homelessness, poverty, single-parenting, post-traumatic stress disorder, and life off-the-grid are just some of the themes woven into this finely balanced film.The ruggedly beautiful opening scenes show a father and daughter appearing to be camping in the wilderness. Silent but for the sound of nature, they forage, taste <more>
nature's bounty, and communicate by gesture. The father, Will Ben Foster , is a war veteran with chronic PTSD and cannot stand the confinement of conventional accommodation. His teenage daughter, androgynously named Tom Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie , has been raised by Will since infancy and is as adept at chess and reading literature as she is at hunting in the wild. They are close, sleep together for warmth, and the forest is their home. That is until a walker spots them and police are brought in.Immediately applying labels like homeless and potential abusive relationship, the authorities subject them to the kind of interrogation that presumes the worst. When suspicion lifts, Will is praised for how well he has raised Tom but they are not permitted to return to their forest home. Social service accommodation is found, but Will soon flees again and Tom must follow. The cycle is repeated until the rapidly maturing Tom must face either a life running from Will's war torments or claim her independence, put down roots, and let him go.This film works on all levels. The cinematography has a docu-drama feel, with hand-held camera-work that intimately observes the father and daughter bond. This is pitched perfectly because of the understated authenticity of performance by Foster and McKenzie. It must have been tempting to dramatize the veteran's trauma but here it is expressed entirely through Foster's eyes and silent stare. McKenzie consumes her role, emerging from the cocoon of adolescence to a butterfly, vibrant, caring, and grounded in self-belief. The dynamic between them is the scaffold that raises the story beyond expectations.It would be challenging to find another film that could more appropriately carry the 'hybrid genre' label. Strands of adventure story, a coming of age tale, a road trip, and a drama, are all present but none dominate. Nor does the film offer an easy solution to helping people like Tom and Will. This is an engaging and touching tale that leaves a warm glow.
This is a story with no antagonist, only the harm caused to one loving father's mind by his military service. It is focussed and deep, showing how some things can't be fixed, and some things have to change. The performances are strong, with the tension always threatening to shatter the veneer of control and love.
Meditative journey through the Pacific Northwest (by jmkosinski)
The first 30 minutes of this film, I would rate as a 9 or even a 10. We are immersed in the soft, jade glow of the Pacific rainforest, and the quiet intimate life of two people who barely need language to communicate. Their relationship with nature is practical and intuitive rather than sentimental and abstract. When the characters do visit the city, it feels cold and alien, full of possibilities but also dangers.Both actors are amazing, especially the young girl. For a young actress to express such mixed emotions clearly is very impressive. The movie has a very rooted sense of place. I was <more>
at a Q & A with the director and it was clear she made a very thorough effort to choose locations and actors professional and amateurs with an eye for realism. I only knock this story because the arc is fairly predictable. For an American movie there is remarkably little plot and no villain or hero. It was hard to decide between a 7 and an 8.