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Leave No Trace (2018)

PG | | Drama | 29 June 2018 (UK)
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2:35 | Trailer
A father and his thirteen year-old daughter are living an ideal existence in a vast urban park in Portland, Oregon, when a small mistake derails their lives forever.

Director:

Debra Granik

Writers:

Debra Granik (screenplay by), Anne Rosellini (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
596 ( 21)

'Leave No Trace' Director, Stars Discuss Film's Intensity

Director Debra Granik, Ben Foster, and Thomasin McKenzie dive deeper into Leave No Trace, the father-daughter relationship in the film, and working with animals on set.

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3 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Thomasin McKenzie ... Tom (as Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie)
Ben Foster ... Will
Jeffery Rifflard Jeffery Rifflard ... Vet at VA (as Jeff Rifflard)
Michael Draper ... Runner
Derek John Drescher Derek John Drescher ... Larry (as Derek Drescher)
Peter Simpson ... Police Officer
Erik McGlothlin Erik McGlothlin ... K-9 Officer
Dana Millican ... Jean
Alyssa McKay Alyssa McKay ... Valerie (as Alyssa Lynn)
Ryan Joiner Ryan Joiner ... Tiffany (as Ryan E. Joiner)
Michael J. Prosser Michael J. Prosser ... James (as Michael Prosser)
Jeff Kober ... Mr. Walters
Spencer S. Hanley ... Pastor
Tamera Westlake Tamera Westlake ... Devotional Dancer
Bob Werfelman Bob Werfelman ... Bob
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Storyline

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 harrowing journey back to their wild homeland. The film is directed by Debra Granik from a script adapted by Granik and Anne Rosellini. Written by Bleecker Street

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic material throughout | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 June 2018 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

My Abandonment See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$219,140, 1 July 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$6,000,795, 19 September 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The last third of the story was filmed at Squaw Mountain Ranch, a family oriented nudist resort outside Estacada, Oregon. SMR was chosen because it's a former logging camp. The film needed a location with old cabins and RVs. Some of the members were used as extras in the "Birthday Party" scene. Squaw Mountain Ranch is the oldest nudist club west of the Mississippi and was established in 1933. They are open year round with rooms to rent in their lodge. See more »

Goofs

After the truck driver picks them up and is driving on a back road, he declares something like "we're now in Washington". They were clearly in the western half of the state (heavily forested), but it's not possible to go from Oregon to Washington in the western half without crossing the Columbia River, and they didn't go over a bridge. See more »

Quotes

Will: This is not a drill.
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User Reviews

 
an engaging and touching tale that leaves a warm glow
10 July 2018 | by CineMuseFilmsSee all my reviews

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 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.


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