There weren’t many people that saw Debra Granik’s previous directoral work, ‘Winter’s Bone’ (though it did give Jennifer Lawrence her first Oscar nomination). There are even fewer people that read this film review blog. I can say with near certainty that the Venn diagram between the two groups of people do not overlap whatsoever. That being said, I must point out that ‘Leave No Trace’ feels like a natural successor.
The film centers around Will (Ben Foster) and his daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie), as they live in the woods outside Portland, Oregon. (Literally in the woods. In a tent.) He suffers from PTSD after serving in the military. And to be perfectly honest, that’s really all the film is about. But the two leads are so well-written and brilliantly performed that the overall plot really isn’t all that necessary. The father and daughter clearly have a strong bond, but their relationship evolves over the course of the film. Watching the two of them struggle to survive the rugged Pacific Northwest is a nice bonus (as is watching Foster’s subtle yet effective portrayal of mental illness).+3