Leave No Trace (2018) Dir: Debra Granik

From the director of Winters Bone (2010), comes a story of a father (Ben Foster) and daughter (Thomasin McKenzie) trying to exist alone in the parks of Portland Oregon.


Great acting from the two leads (Ben Foster is brilliant as usual) in this quiet unjudging portrait of a relationship which is thrown into doubt when the two are discovered by park rangers and put into social services. The authorities suspect that the father has forced his daughter into staying in this life or that there is abuse. However, they soon realize that both want this alternative existence.

As the film progresses we see the relationship hit a crossroads. A trip to a new wilderness will result in a serious accident, changing their lives forever.

There is very little dialogue but it manages to brilliantly portray the relationship and its evolution. The father’s demons surface and the daughter longs for her true place in the world. There are some incredibly tense moments as they fight for survival or just to stay together. Cumulating in a powerful and heartbreaking (or heartwarming depending on how you react to the final decision) finale.

However, for all these positive aspects, I did find that the film was a bit too slow at times and while I admire it greatly it is, perhaps, a bit too slight of a story to be truly great.

Rating: 7/10

Should you go to see it? – Definitely one for home viewing but well worth checking out.

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