Rent Leave No Trace (2018)

3.6 of 5 from 1113 ratings
1h 44min
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Based on Peter Rock's novel 'My Abandonment', 'Leave No Trace' revolves around a teenage girl (Thomasin McKenzie) and her father (Ben Foster) who have lived undetected for years in Forest Park, a vast wood on the edge of Portland, Oregon. A chance encounter leads to their discovery and removal from the park and into the charge of a social service agency. They try to adapt to their new surroundings until a sudden decision sets them on a perilous journey into the wilderness seeking complete independence and forcing them to confront their conflicting desire to be part of a community or a fierce need to live apart.
, , Jeffery Rifflard, Derek John Drescher, , , Erik McGlothlin, , Alyssa McKay, Ryan Joiner, , , Spencer S. Hanley, Tamera Westlake, Bob Werfelman, , Jacob Johnson, , Derek Carmon, Zoë Dotson
Anne Harrison, Linda Reisman, Anne Rosellini
Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, Peter Rock
Children & Family, Top 100 Films, Drama
Release Date:
Run Time:
104 minutes
English, English Audio Description, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish
Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, English, English Hard of Hearing, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Spanish, Turkish
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Release Date:
Run Time:
109 minutes
English, English Audio Description
English, English Hard of Hearing
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
BLU-RAY Regions:

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Reviews (20) of Leave No Trace

A little gem ! - Leave No Trace review by JD

Spoiler Alert

Loved this low key movie.

Not many films nowadays have no swearing or any bad/ nasty characters.

Beautifully acted by the two main characters but also by all the others, many I presume are not professional actors.

An interesting, and moving story keeps you involved all the way through and it shines a spotlight on a problem I suspect is more common than we think.

Highly recommended, please try this movie, you will not be disappointed.

14 out of 14 members found this review helpful.

One of the best of the year - Leave No Trace review by CS

Spoiler Alert

Marvellous acting by the two leads, Thomasin McKenzie and Ben Foster, who deliver a totally believable tale about a psychologically damaged veteran and his daughter trying to live a life outside of society's norms. The adjustments and challenges that they face are portrayed sympathetically and while there is a strong melancholic vein running throughout the film it also shows the good side of humans in a positive way. Highly recommended. One of the most powerful and well acted films I've seen in 2018.

12 out of 12 members found this review helpful.

Lo-fi but intense and affirming - Leave No Trace review by TE

Spoiler Alert

This film is like a good book that you can't put down.

It creates a fascinating, suspenseful tale without any of the Hollywood gimmicks. The relationship between troubled father and intelligent, open daughter is beautifully written and acted.

The woods and the natural landscape becomes a character in the film as well.

Quiet brilliance.

9 out of 10 members found this review helpful.

Slow - Leave No Trace review by MR

Spoiler Alert

Despite good reviews this was not a compelling view, slow and pointless would be a more accurate description.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

Leave No Trace review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

There is an unsettling silence and coldness to Leave No Trace, where a father and daughter don’t have to say much even though we know they should. The two seem to be the most at home in nature, away from the civilized world the father finds too noisy and busy. But there’s a desperation and separation between the two, distant even when together, a world between them when mere rooms push them away. There’s so much rattling around inside them that simple writing their story off as a family wandering around the forest is a major injustice.

Ben Foster plays Will with great quiet and power as a PSTD effected veteran. He resides in the woodland areas of Oregon with his 13-year-old daughter, Tom (Thomasin McKenzie). They live a life of survival and seclusion, trained not only to make do with the land but also hide from anyone seeking to take them away. They only go into town to secretly seek a means of helping others hiding out in the woods with them. They’re unsuccessful, however, and are found by authorities, taken in for care by social services.

Now here is where the film could have crashed and burned. It could’ve just as easily been a fish out of water story about Will and Tom trying to adjust to civilized society. But director Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone) always keeps the story a personal one, too tragic to let everything spill out. Take for example the scene where Will is given a series of yes or no questions to answers. Some he answers easily, others he strains with, reasonably so with such questions about how you feel about your life and if you feel that things are left unresolved. Don’t we all? But Will strains these words because he still doesn’t feel all there, even when the state believes they have given him a purpose.

We keep thinking that Will is just on the cusp of some big rant about society, commercialism, and the destruction of nature. He is given a rural job of cutting up trees for a living, something that clearly wears on him as work without ethics or purpose. From his brow and his eyes, he hates this life of destroying the world and going home to a TV he won’t watch. He’d rather be in the woods, where he feels free and at peace with the world.

But Tom knows this can’t last, not so much for him but for her. She’s had a taste of both worlds and it’s clear which one she favors, not so for the mere artificiality of the one with warm beds and clothing. It’s not easy to depart from one’s father when they know they won’t connect but Tom’s departure comes with a quiet realization with a side of bitterness. One of the most powerful scenes features her making this connection when she learns from a kindly old woman about how to care for bees, to earn their trust that they won’t sting you. Subtle and somber, where her expression upon parting ways carries more in the eyes than dull words ever could.

Leave No Trace becomes incredibly engrossing for how it always holds our attention with how long Will can keep his closet closed and how long Tom will go along with his quietness. The gloom and coldness can be felt throughout where you’re just about on the verge of tears for this small family. Will’s tears come easily while Tom’s have been hardened as cold as her feet when hiking through the chilly wilderness. Even when I knew what was on the horizon for their strained relationship, there’s an undeniable, unshakable aspect that I wanted to see where they would go next, how they would live, and if they could live together.

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