Bleecker Street | Release Date: June 29, 2018
7.6
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Generally favorable reviews based on 151 Ratings
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10
netflicJul 16, 2018
This is the latest film from director Debra Granik, famous for making one of my most favorite movies, "Winter's Bone". If you liked "Winter's Bone", you will love this film.
It's a story about an army vet with PTSD who lives in the woods with
This is the latest film from director Debra Granik, famous for making one of my most favorite movies, "Winter's Bone". If you liked "Winter's Bone", you will love this film.
It's a story about an army vet with PTSD who lives in the woods with his teenage daughter. They are hiding from people because he seems not to be able to live among them. He tries his best to provide for his daughter teaching her survival skills, homeschooling her, etc. They are very close, there is no need for lengthy dialogs. His daughter's mom is not in the picture, the girl practically does not remember her. She is all he's got in this life yet at some point the girl insists that she wants to live among people.
There are no villains in this movie, no violence; people do what they think they should. Yet it is so dramatic, raw and emotional...
All aspects of movie making are fantastic: performances, script, cinematography, realism. Every little detail is crisp and believable.

Brilliant movie, the best this year so far. Definitely Oscar material in many categories.
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3 of 3 users found this helpful30
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8
TVJerryJul 17, 2018
Ben Foster plays a disturbed vet who lives with his daughter (newcomer Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie) in the forest park outside Portland, Oregon. Their relationship is tried when they're pressed into living in a more traditional environment.Ben Foster plays a disturbed vet who lives with his daughter (newcomer Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie) in the forest park outside Portland, Oregon. Their relationship is tried when they're pressed into living in a more traditional environment. Director Debra Granik ("Winter's Bone") has created an underplayed examination of their relationship with sensitive beauty beauty. There are no big emotions or big calamities, just a compelling journey with a quiet intensity and memorable performances. Expand
2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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6
Compi24Jul 14, 2018
Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie may be the most steadfast on-screen duo this year in terms of performances, but beyond that, there's not much else to Debra Granik's wayfaring wilderness drama, "Leave No Trace." It's not necessarily as thoughBen Foster and Thomasin McKenzie may be the most steadfast on-screen duo this year in terms of performances, but beyond that, there's not much else to Debra Granik's wayfaring wilderness drama, "Leave No Trace." It's not necessarily as though nothing happens, but the characterization and direction makes it feel as though nothing has. The pacing is trying, the movie never really builds to anything, and there are several plot threads left unattended by the time its closing credits roll. All in all, it's a nice-looking and well acted ride, but nothing more than that. Expand
2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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8
moviemitch96Jul 12, 2018
While it feels a little "been there, done that" and doesn't really bring anything new to the table due to some recent similar films about living in/surviving in the wilderness or being on the run (i.e. 'Captain Fantastic' and 'The GlassWhile it feels a little "been there, done that" and doesn't really bring anything new to the table due to some recent similar films about living in/surviving in the wilderness or being on the run (i.e. 'Captain Fantastic' and 'The Glass Castle'), this turned out to be a simple yet highly effective and thoughtful look at the bond of a father and daughter trying to simply make their way in the world. Been Foster and Thomasin McKenzie are so endearing together and really seem to form a genuine connection in every scene they share together. Like their traveling characters in the film however, the story felt rather all over the place at times and the ending was a slight letdown for me, but overall, Foster and McKenzie's onscreen chemistry and performances are the beating heart of this often rather touching film with lots of realistic and poignant themes to boot. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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8
Brent_MarchantJul 7, 2018
An intriguing if sometimes somewhat meandering tale about living off the grid, dealing with adaptation to society's expectations and reconciling our feelings about our past. The film's superb performances and beautiful cinematography lendAn intriguing if sometimes somewhat meandering tale about living off the grid, dealing with adaptation to society's expectations and reconciling our feelings about our past. The film's superb performances and beautiful cinematography lend much to an engaging story that undoubtedly captures the smoldering sentiments many of us feel but don't have the courage to act upon. A little tightening up in the editing and a better fleshed-out back story would have helped make this a truly great film, though, as it stands now, it's certainly one of 2018's better offerings. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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8
JLuis_001Sep 29, 2018
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Leave No Trace in a way is a minimalist film, definitely discreet. Based on Peter Rock's novel ''My Abandonment'' which is inspired by the true story of a veteran and his 12-year-old daughter who were discovered living in a Portland's Forest Park.

The way in which the film begins if you didn't know what you were dealing with, you might believe that it's a story located in a post-apocalyptic world, but that's simply not the case. Will (Ben Foster) is an Army veteran who suffers from PTSD and has exiled himself to live in isolation in a national park with his teenage daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie).

The film gives us few clues but they're enough to understand the background of Will's character and in that way to better understand his relationship with Tom, which eventually begins to build the perspective between both of them. Especially Tom's perspective, which sets the foundation of the whole story and what eventually leads to its ending when they must take separate paths. Him for not being able to recover and wants to continue living isolated, while Tom decides that she cannot go with him again and needs to try to have a normal life.

Leave No Trace is certainly emotional but as I said, the approach is discreet, it's a sober and concise story. Its strengths are its protagonists and both Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie do an excellent job.

Although director Debra Manik had already directed a documentary in 2014, this film feels like a natural progression for what she did in ''Winter's Bone''.
Leave No Trace is not a grandiloquent or striking film but if you are looking for an intimate and fairly well made film, it's an excellent option.
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9
DufreshestJul 22, 2018
Leave No Trace is a film inspired by the book My Abandonment written by Peter Rock. Obviously, there are many discrepancies between films inspired by the stories in books and the actual stories in the books. As much as the story and filmLeave No Trace is a film inspired by the book My Abandonment written by Peter Rock. Obviously, there are many discrepancies between films inspired by the stories in books and the actual stories in the books. As much as the story and film differ, I find Leave No Trace radically adjusts the narrative to direct and instruct more so than fulfill the telling of the story written by Peter Rock. My Abandonment feels like more of a therapeutic process similar to Helen MacDonald’s H is for Hawk which carries a poetic resonance of Annie Dillard’s Holy the Firm though is less agonizing and grueling than the latter two mentioned.

Leave No Trace utilizes the “The Principles of Leave No Trace” in action to fulfill a core element of the story branching from My Abandonment which concerns leaving as is and letting go. There is a full redemption in the film and a freeing relinquishing that does not exist in My Abandonment. There are more than a few concepts at play in Leave No Trace — some more apparent than others — that must be addressed in accordance with the text of its inspiration.

There are very awkward still moments in the film that indicate an awkward attachment between the father and daughter which makes more sense in connection with the book focusing on Caroline’s (Tom/Yellow in the film) relationship with her father. Adoptive families and families from which adoptees come from are important topics which find a spin throughout the film which makes Will (Tom/Yellow’s father in the film) look more like a person assisting with and disrupting home placement at the same time (which ends up making the film more about a father-daughter relationship than a film about adoption processes).

Will becomes a more understanding parent by action as the film progresses and stands as a guiding force which gives Tom/Yellow the tools necessary to break away into her own. Tom/Yellow begins delineating the circumstances of which she wants to live with which is very important in viewing. Tom and Will spend a lot of time staring at each other conversing: both of them seem to be slowly separating especially as Tom begins to find that living with her father’s way of life is not most suitable to her liking. Leave No Trace makes choice very available for women — growing women in particular — that struggle breaking away from their fatherly nurturing to discover a broader world of choices available to them. In the film, Tom/Yellow is a woman of sensible grounding that has undergone proper training from her father on ways to survive and is capable of assessing social situations about her well enough to progress without suffering overwhelmingly due to her upbringing though she does go through slight troubles poetically shown through her interactions with her father in the film.

The other aspect is that lives are different regardless of the family from which one comes. There might be a familial purpose to assist growth — but, that will never be able to undermine an individual’s need — even want — to develop their life, within their own life, of their own circumstances. The film shows a great understanding from Tom/Yellow which results in a peaceable separation between Will and Tom. The book, My Abandonment, showcases a much rougher separation between Caroline (Tom/Yellow) and her father. Also, the effects of the daughter-father relationship extremely affect Caroline’s developments as an individual breaking into a more public-social realm: the daughter’s reality is completely twisted because of her relationship with her father and prevents her from even accepting the assistance of non-judgmental women willing to help her.

Both the film and the book create an accepting and overcoming on the daughter’s part of the father’s circumstances as well as of developing familial circumstances as the daughter in both the book and the film progress on their own with their available mind and skill sets. I understand the importance of parenting in one’s life — more so than parenting — guidance. People need guidance depending on their experiential, knowledge, and understanding levels which varies from person to person. I like the patience shown in the film which indicates a slow process might be necessary and best moving forward in one’s life where as in the text the daughter continues on her path though eventually finds her own pacing within the pacing she has come to learn from her father. There are a lot of good relationships that are available and to be had that should not find disruption due to one’s behavioral habits and understandings that may be detrimental to personal growths. A mind capable of truly developing and understanding does not suffer from having to experience familiarity and is capable of a flexibility which allows for the creation of life without bounds across many, if not all, mediums of existence. Overall: B+/A-

IG: @Dufreshest
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1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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9
LamontRaymondJul 5, 2018
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Next to The Rider, it's probably the movie of the year. Ben Foster's performance is subtle and brilliant, but he is topped by the actress who plays his daughter. She's pitch perfect. It's an interesting spotlight on the margins of society. Also interesting that the government separated parents from children in a non-border, non-incarceration context. I suppose it's necessary for well-meaning government agencies to assess the fitness of parents in these situations. Regardless, I love how the film highlights the generosity of regular folks (the truck driver, the trailer-park lady, the ex-army medic) who look out for others strictly because they are human beings - and not because there's something in it for them. Foster plays the vet role with extreme dignity, and he's never over-the-top. Easy recommendation for anyone. Expand
3 of 4 users found this helpful31
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10
The3AcademySinsJul 6, 2018
This movie gripped me in ways that I totally did not expect. I was wowed by Ben Foster and even more wowed by Thomasin McKenzie. Debra Granik has done it again. This film is a masterpiece of emotion and cinematography. There is very littleThis movie gripped me in ways that I totally did not expect. I was wowed by Ben Foster and even more wowed by Thomasin McKenzie. Debra Granik has done it again. This film is a masterpiece of emotion and cinematography. There is very little dialogue in the film, and instead tells a visual story with more weight than the most talkative of dramas. This is a must see, and one of the best films I have seen this year. Expand
2 of 3 users found this helpful21
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5
amiscoeJul 15, 2018
The scenery was beautiful, the story interesting, the acting good. But like with Winter's Bone, I just wasn't totally buying it. It was hard to know how old the girl, Tom, is. 12, 13, 14? At first she talks like a nine or ten year old, butThe scenery was beautiful, the story interesting, the acting good. But like with Winter's Bone, I just wasn't totally buying it. It was hard to know how old the girl, Tom, is. 12, 13, 14? At first she talks like a nine or ten year old, but we can see she is older than that. She's not menstruating? So let's say she is 12. She's an "old soul" as the social worker said of her. But she is still a kid. I'm just not sure about these movies that are completely reliant on self possessed, motherless girls. I had the same reaction to the book, Secret Life of Bees. And bees are featured in this movie as some kind of metaphor for life. The story was way too idealized. Motherless girls are not self possessed. They grow up in many was dissociated from their own feelings. The film was beautifully made. I just wish the story had more realism to the inner life of the girl. We don't do our girls a favor when we don't tell the truth of female experience. Expand
2 of 3 users found this helpful21
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2
SWEEPtheLEG175Jul 6, 2018
Ben Foster is always great and his co-star was as well, but this is an extremely boring film. I didn't buy into the Ben Foster's character and why he has to do the things he does. Just seemed like a quitter.
3 of 5 users found this helpful32
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10
FelicityFenwickAug 16, 2018
I love this film. Ben Foster and the actress playing his daughter put on such tremendous, restrained performance. The story is heartbreaking. Interesting to see that Oregon divides families in this non-immigration context.
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
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0
bataguilaDec 11, 2018
Un asco, no trata de nada, es de hueva, lo peor del año junto the rider, lo unico bueno la chavita esta guapita
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
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3
OlivierPielSep 26, 2018
very disappointing. It's flat and dry. And turned the lush allure of the fantastic scenery surrounding the main characters as drab as an English suburb. It's the opposite of that nice movie Mr. Fantastic with Viggo Mortensen. The only goodvery disappointing. It's flat and dry. And turned the lush allure of the fantastic scenery surrounding the main characters as drab as an English suburb. It's the opposite of that nice movie Mr. Fantastic with Viggo Mortensen. The only good cinematic moments happen at the start and end of the movie with gorgeous photography. The rest is the typical example of how cinema ruins a book by trying to be "realistic", "telling a story" or understand the "psychology" of its main characters. A film will never beat the written word in that respect. Ben Forster was especially bad in that film imho. Expand
1 of 5 users found this helpful14
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0
MerryladyJul 15, 2018
OMG, Save yourself! do not go see this slow moving and boring movie! How anyone thinks this movie was good is beyond my comprehension, A root canal would be less painful!
1 of 17 users found this helpful116
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3
mppMar 14, 2019
The problem with this film is Foster's character: poorly cast and poorly written. For the film to work, the viewer needs some degree of empathy for Foster, despite the poor decisions, yet it provides none. The man is beyond selfish; he's aThe problem with this film is Foster's character: poorly cast and poorly written. For the film to work, the viewer needs some degree of empathy for Foster, despite the poor decisions, yet it provides none. The man is beyond selfish; he's a drug dealer, a thief, a child abuser, and not so hot at living off the land. I was rooting for him to be crushed by a tree within the first 10 mins of the film so that his daughter coukd be free of him. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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7
GreatMartinJul 23, 2018
“Leave No Trace” is a small, independent film with very little, what an audience would call ‘action’ but the film offers the beautiful scenery of Oregon forests, love of animals, a super performance by young Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie matched“Leave No Trace” is a small, independent film with very little, what an audience would call ‘action’ but the film offers the beautiful scenery of Oregon forests, love of animals, a super performance by young Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie matched by Ben Foster as her father Will and an emotional ending.
Tom and her father have been living in the woods of Forest Park completely undetected for a couple of years. Her mother had died when Tom was young and her father suffers PTSD and we follow what happens when they are ‘discovered’ and brought into the world of community. There is a strong love between daughter and father and though she finds sharing life with others is giving something a growing teenager needs she does not want to be separated from her Dad.
Tom is way ahead scholastically due to the teaching by her father but meeting bunnies, dogs even bees along with discovering what the 4H is, learning how to ride a bike and meets a friendly boy, giving her a taste what she may have missed not knowing she was missing it.
There is no high drama regarding Will’s illness, no question if the two are homeless or just not living as most people do, just a quiet look at how people can take your heart and, sometimes, that is not enough.
“Leave No Trace” is a linear story that, in a sense, has an open ending but you have come to know these two people to the point that you almost know what will happen to them in the future—with some doubt.
Though it may not be a ‘must see’ it certainly is a way to escape the South Florida heat and humidity for an hour and fifty minutes and watching Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie give a star making turn is certainly worth your time.
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10
GinaKJul 16, 2018
Oddly, this is the kind of film that makes you proud to be an American. The people who live in the woods have all the traditional American virtues – fiercely independent, smart, hard-working, loyal, and kind-hearted. The film is alsoOddly, this is the kind of film that makes you proud to be an American. The people who live in the woods have all the traditional American virtues – fiercely independent, smart, hard-working, loyal, and kind-hearted. The film is also beautiful looking and beautifully paced. The acting is superb and completely believable. America also looks gorgeous. Debra Granik is a great director, and the actors are completely believable, especially Ben Foster and Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie. Expand
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7
BrianMcCriticOct 9, 2018
Leave No Trace is well crafted and you find yourself drawn in by trying to understand character's motivations and sympathizing with others. The film did come off as a bit of a slog through some of the middle but a good film nonetheless.Leave No Trace is well crafted and you find yourself drawn in by trying to understand character's motivations and sympathizing with others. The film did come off as a bit of a slog through some of the middle but a good film nonetheless. Overall a solid 7 a B+. Expand
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8
justwibiOct 23, 2018
such a powerfull and beautiful story. i love the relationship between Foster & McKenzie! their chemistry is very bold and natural!
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8
buddhalouJan 10, 2019
Slow, quiet, and beautiful like the surroundings it takes place in and not the least bit boring for it. Got me right in the feels a few times, for sure. Ben Foster continues to impress and the kid in this, Thomasin McKenzie, was a delight.
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10
MasterRileySep 5, 2019
Leave No Trace is an incredible film that follows the life of a man and his daughter who live in isolation, away from society, in the woods. As you would expect they have a really close relationship as they only have eachothers company, andLeave No Trace is an incredible film that follows the life of a man and his daughter who live in isolation, away from society, in the woods. As you would expect they have a really close relationship as they only have eachothers company, and both deliver fantastic performances that make their characters feel like real people. Unfortunately they get found in the woods and are taken in by police to begin living in an actual home surrounded by other people. This is when the movie begins to explore why they prefer to live in the woods rather than being apart of society. Its a very real and personal movie that almost feels like it is depicting the lives of a real father and daughter. Its a movie for people who love the wilderness and have a desire to get away from civilization. Expand
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7
michaelinpersonOct 5, 2018
The beginning of the film feels shapeless in terms of where it's headed; only until later is there actual substance and solidarity of the relationship between Will and his daughter--concrete and subtle.
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9
arod10901Jul 15, 2018
The movie is quiet, subtle and slow, the performances are subdued and not over the top, it was very anti-melodramatic and anti-climactic, there was no real buildup or suspense, these aren’t complaints just something to keep in mind if you’reThe movie is quiet, subtle and slow, the performances are subdued and not over the top, it was very anti-melodramatic and anti-climactic, there was no real buildup or suspense, these aren’t complaints just something to keep in mind if you’re interested in seeing it, in my opinion the film wasn’t trying to make you cry, although heartbreaking at times, no real tearjerker moments ,no big oscar type of monologues, you just kind of get absorbed into the lives of these people and to me it was very beautifully made and quite powerful, while I didn’t cry while watching it I got choked up explaining some of the more tender moments to someone the next day, it’ll stay with me for awhile and that’s the true sign of a really good movie. Expand
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8
amheretojudgeSep 25, 2018
these chess pieces are real..

Leave No Trace Granik's version of the book, "The Abandonment" written by Peter Rock, has the finiteness that makes you sink in its abyss. The finite number of characters, the finite amount of segments and its
these chess pieces are real..

Leave No Trace

Granik's version of the book, "The Abandonment" written by Peter Rock, has the finiteness that makes you sink in its abyss. The finite number of characters, the finite amount of segments and its that repetitiveness that weaves out a poem that requires spatial of a larger margin, hence what she does in here is, tugs out all the mechanics for it to float freely without any strings tied. This father and daughter exploration is cathartic to the core and communicates neatly, not for its positive emotions but the negative, that it doesn't flinch to project. Since, if Foster has all the tactics to survive that he teaches to Mackenzie, he also has plethora of emotional burden of his forsaken and untouched past and that is not something which is supposed to be passed upon. It tells an honest tale of Foster and Mackenzie and their journey across the woods where the zeal to live by nature, costs each other unfeasible terms. No matter how artificial it gets at times, the touch of nature is imputed in each frame. And Granik does it by keeping both her lead character together even when they are separated; either their notions can be filtered out or their vocab. The characters in here doesn't need the element of surprise to scare, its their looks, their habits, their stillness, that leaves us shook. The primary reason why we are afraid of these simple characters, is because we start to care for them; if someone gets wounded, he or she will be taken care of with a first aid kit. There is very little skin in the telltale, it wants you to scrape off and feel the blood and sweat of the game; these chess pieces are real. Foster hesitates to look Mackenzie in the eye while she gazes deep into his, this is a performance of life for both of the actors screaming through the entire feature. If those buzzing of the bees weren't loud enough for you, listen to it again, Granik has a story to tell you. She is not here to convince you to look closely and listen carefully, she demands it with her apt finesse on executing such a behemoth concept. Mackenzie's character is bred out of raw woods, hence her nature is to reside and breathe in the current moment, she is ready to take what's hers if be needed, she will earn for it and she will take it. On the other hand, Foster is chiseled with experience and lives in the past, which allows him to spend the entire breathe of his on preparing the trajectory of the future. Combining these two, the makers leave them around greenery (it is beautifully shot and has supremely appealing bright colors that grabs your attention since the beginning) and observes the retaliation that their chemistry spreads. This is a work of nothing but sheer passion that ought to fuel such a fragile concept and Leave No Trace will leave no opportunity whatsoever to heal your wounds.
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8
ahmedaiman9999Sep 29, 2018
-"Everything's different now."
-"We can still think our own thoughts."
The first movie that came to my mind after watching the opening scene from this movie is Captain Fantastic. While both movies share similar themes as they can be
-"Everything's different now."
-"We can still think our own thoughts."

The first movie that came to my mind after watching the opening scene from this movie is Captain Fantastic. While both movies share similar themes as they can be classified under the Survival Movies sub-genre, Leave No Trace is a completely different film. What makes this movie different and special is what it implies not what it shows at all. Like Rebel Without a Cause, this movie demands from the viewers to put themselves in the main characters' shoes. Without doing so, you'll not be able to relate or feel anything, and the movie would feel very bland and cold for you. Because this movie in particular stands out from the other movies of its kind due to
its non-dramatized approach to its subject matter. It feels so authentic and realistic, and that's exactly what some people find somewhat off-putting. But that wasn't, by any means, the case for me. I found this movie so moving, and I related to the characters so much.

Without Debra Granik's nuanced and delicate direction this movie could have been stiff and boring. But Debra Granik added some small, yet very effective, touches to emphasize on some sweet memories, and therefore make them stuck in our heads, and, before everything, in our hearts to evoke a catharsis in the audience by the end of the movie.

Both Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie delivered brilliant performances that feel as authentic as Debra Granik's serene direction. The result is a movie that massively succeeded to be heart-breaking without the slightest reliance on dramatic clichés such as the highs and lows we often see in this kind of movies.

All that being said, halfway through the movie, there was a slight tendency to continue the story in a formulaic way. Fortunately, that didn't happen. But that doesn't mean that I found the first, and especially the first, and the third act more cohesive, and more original as well. With more deviling into Ben Foster's character, Will, the second act could have been not only less flawed, but also potentially the strongest among the other two acts. With these problems, I found that I understood Will state of mind more than I felt it. That said, as the movie progresses I became more and more invested in his character, hence more emotionally connected to it.

What really impressed me is Thomasin McKenzie's performance. Her character, Tom, is incredibly compelling and complex, and the way we get to know her characteristics from is absolutely genius! Just from the dialogue and the naturalistic way Thomasin McKenzie responds in every single situation we know that Tom is grateful, caring, honest and very frank, and afraid of change like her father, but also has an entirely different reason for being so.

Leave No Trace is, first and foremost, a deeply moving humanistic tale thanks to its unconventional and unpredictable approach to its subject matter, and the honest and authentic performances from the underrated Ben Foster, and especially from the massively talented young actress Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie.

(8/10)
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9
GrantD243Jul 27, 2018
Leave No Trace follows a dad, who is ex-military, and his teenage daughter who live in a public park. They live in this park by choice, not necessarily out of necessity. They have a solid camp set up, a daily routine, and while the daughterLeave No Trace follows a dad, who is ex-military, and his teenage daughter who live in a public park. They live in this park by choice, not necessarily out of necessity. They have a solid camp set up, a daily routine, and while the daughter doesn't go to public school her dad has homeschooled her very well. They aren't completely isolated, either, as they go into the city whenever they need to. But, one day a jogger sees the daughter while running down the trail, alerts the authorities, and they are scooped up and taken to a government agency. Eventually, they are let go and attempt to adjust to their new way of life in an actual house. That's as far as I'll go with story details, because that is where the story really begins. The story of Leave No Trace is not an exciting one. This is a pure drama and the true focus here is on the characters. We watch Will (the dad) attempt to adjust to living as a "normal" person in a house with a day job, while also battling his memories of war which often haunt him in the night. Living outside is all Tom (his daughter) has really ever known, so we also see how she adjusts and what she thinks about the average way of living in the U.S. Their struggle, and sometimes their inability, to adapt is what drives the story. This is a very emotional film as well. And by that I don't mean that it'll make you cry or tear up, but the emotion is so strong that it is almost a character itself. I was at full attention the entire time while watching this one. Everything just comes together in a way that easily makes this one of my favorite films of the year.

Characters: The real reason why this film succeeds so well in what its trying to do is because of the characters and the actors playing them. Ben Foster puts in what I would call an Oscar-worthy performance as Will. We sympathize with him, we see the conflict within him, but we also question him at times because of how set in his ways he is. Thomasin McKenzie also puts in a tremendous performance as Tom. As far as I can tell, she hasn't had many major roles but she is incredibly impressive with her ability to carry scenes here. She's also very strong in the more emotional scenes. Cinematography: There are some great shots in here, but the real reason why I wanted to note the cinematography is because there is a use of symetry at the beginning and end of the story that really impressed me. It was such a simple addition, but it really helped bring everything together. Also, I loved that the director chose to use music so sparingly. There are some scenes where there is absolutely no music at all, only the sounds of the environment and dialogue of the characters. Overall: Leave No Trace is a terrific movie that very well could end up getting an Oscar nomination or two at the end of the year. The strong performances and the gripping story really make it worth the trip to the theater.
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7
Bertaut1Aug 12, 2018
Deeply respectful of its subject

In Walden, his 1854 memoir/philosophical treatise, Henry David Thoreau chronicles a period of two years, two months, and two days during which time he lived alone in a small cabin he himself had built in the
Deeply respectful of its subject

In Walden, his 1854 memoir/philosophical treatise, Henry David Thoreau chronicles a period of two years, two months, and two days during which time he lived alone in a small cabin he himself had built in the forest near Walden Pond, Massachusetts, on property owned by his mentor and friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Inspired by the tenets of transcendentalism, of especial importance to Thoreau was "Self-Reliance", an 1841 essay by Emerson, which argues that an individual must avoid conformity, follow their own ideas and concepts, and trust in their own instincts if they are to attain a deeper understanding of the nature of existence. In Walden, Thoreau was putting this concept to the test, isolating himself from civil society, and existing in nature with only the barest means of subsistence ("I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach").

Walden went on to become one of the (many) foundational texts of libertarianism, the core principles of which are the valuation of personal liberty above all else and the encouragement of scepticism towards authority in general, and the state/government in particular.

All of which brings us to Leave no Trace, which could, perhaps, be described as a darker version of Captain Fantastic (2016). Directed by Debra Granik, and written for the screen by Granik and Anne Rosellini, based on Peter Rock's 2010 novel My Abandonment, the film tells the story of Will (Ben Foster), a veteran suffering from PTSD, who is living off the grid with his daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie). Making their home in a national park in Portland, Oregon, they embody many of the concepts underpinning Emerson's notions of self-reliance; individual authority, nonconformity, solitude, internal self-truth, with Will especially valuing freedom of thought. However, when a jogger sees Tom, park wardens are dispatched to track them down, and social services open an investigation into their situation.

None of the philosophical theories outlined above are explicitly mentioned anywhere in the film. However, knowledge of them definitely helps one to more easily understand Will. Whether Granik or Rosellini are even aware of these concepts is beside the point, as they serve to give one a more assured theoretical entry point into a not easily penetrated film. For example, does one have to know that Will is at stage six of Lawrence Kohlberg's stages of moral development to understand or enjoy the film? No, of course not. Does it help? Absolutely.

On a less theoretical note, the film does a lot that on paper would seem to be wrong; for long stretches of time, there is no real sense of any kind of standard Aristotelian conflict, as we simply observe Will and Tom going about their day. In tandem with this, the film is extremely light on plot, incident, and tangible character development, focusing instead on mood and tone, and calling upon the actors to externalise their emotions through action and expression rather than dialogue. Obviously, this means almost everything hinges on the quality of the performances and the believability of the bond between the characters. Thankfully, both Foster and McKenzie are exceptional – he plays Will as someone who has seen the darker side of humanity and has no time for frivolousness, whereas she plays Tom as someone desperate to have a childhood, but who also wants to make her father proud. In one particularly telling scene, when they must leave on a moment's notice, he tells her to pack only what is essential, and she places a toy horse in her backpack, but only after she has wrapped it up so Will can't see it, an action which tells us a great deal about both characters.

The film's pacing is both its greatest asset, and its biggest flaw. To speed things up would have compromised the tone Granik is going for. However, this kind of methodical pacing is likely to alienate a lot of viewers, who will undoubtedly criticise the film as boring, and its focus on Will and Tom to the exclusion of almost everything else as too narrow. When it does branch out (for example, a minor sub-theme is the treatment of veterans upon their return to society), it is only insofar as to show how the two main characters are affected. What's especially interesting about the story, however, is that the narrative seems predicated on the transcendentalist notion of the inherent goodness of people; pretty much everyone Will and Tom encounter is trying to do right by them, even the social workers are genuinely trying to help them. In the end, what the film gives us is a deeply respectful portraiture of a man trying to make the best of it in the only way he knows how.
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9
Slovenly_MuseApr 14, 2019
Unlike other tales of wilderness survival, this movie centers not around the perils and hardships of the outdoors, but rather the indomitable human kindness that community can provide.
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10
CosiMOLOGONov 19, 2018
Debra Granik hizo notoria la carrera de Jennifer Lawrence el 2010 con Winter's Bone. Ahora Thomasin McKenzie se luce junto a Ben Foster, un veterano de guerra, que no logra adaptarse, y lleva una vida aparentemente normal con su hija en unDebra Granik hizo notoria la carrera de Jennifer Lawrence el 2010 con Winter's Bone. Ahora Thomasin McKenzie se luce junto a Ben Foster, un veterano de guerra, que no logra adaptarse, y lleva una vida aparentemente normal con su hija en un bosque. Por un descuido, un día son descubiertos y se ven obligados a integrarse en la sociedad.

Lynne Ramsey mostró con "Nunca estarás a salvo", el tormento de un hombre por su experiencia en la guerra, y luego como justiciero en el mundo de la prostitución. En dicha película Joe, interpretado por Joaquin Phoenix se redime y continua con su vida. Un caso similar se presenta en Leave no Trace, es igual de abrumadora, pero sin necesidad de ser tan oscura como la cinta de Ramsey. La tranquilidad de los bosques de Oregon han recluido a un hombre que perdió a su esposa y ahora, aparentemente mejor, cuida de su hija, joven que siempre se muestra colaboradora y lleva una buena relación. Debra Granik, sabe como manejar la historia que adapta un libro de Peter Rock del 2009, My Abandonment, que se basa en hechos reales. Una historia que se conduce gracias a la fuerte relación entre padre e hija, que está siempre dispuesta a ayudar a su padre.

Will, el personaje de Foster, un ser contemplativo, con una profunda complejidad psicológica y también filosófica, pero preocupado, lo que servirá que su hija para poder sobreponerse a las dificultades que afrontarán. Tomashin McKenzie se luce mostrando a una joven que se vio obligada a madurar por la experiencia que vivió, lo que le ayudará a encontrar lo que realmente desea de su vida.

La fotografía captura los sobrecogedores pasajes de Oregon, también consigue momentos de fuerte humanismo que conmoverán a mas de uno. Una película conmovedora y hermosa, como pocas.
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10
SachaZZOct 7, 2018
This film moved me with its sincerity of acting, realist plot and its overall intelligence. More like this one, please..
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8
movieducationOct 26, 2018
LEAVE NO TRACE, Granik's way to asphyxiate, slow but enganging, vibrant in emotions. An extraordinary, resilient performance from Thomasin McKenzie, Ben Foster is breathless, in good way.
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10
hoobokenkenDec 3, 2018
Excellent movie about the goodness in people and the needs that different people have to survive.
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10
ladyalymarieDec 26, 2018
This left a mark in my heart and I know that I'll keep thinking about it for years to come.
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