Leave No Trace - Film Club Review

leavenotraceThis low-key film festival favourite explores relationships, connections and what it means to belong in this society - and in this world.

Title: Leave No Trace
Genre: Drama
Classification: G
Director: Debra Granik

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 shows us that everything is intentional when it comes to film making. There is a deliberate effortlessness to this film that makes it seem so real. With a story that could so easily have been blown out of proportion, Granik brings it back down to earth and to the root of the narrative; Which is ultimately about our connections to each other, our connections to the land and our connections to our past. Leave No Trace is beautifully directed, shot and acted (especially that of the father/daughter duo, Thomasin McKenzie and Ben Foster) and left us all with nothing but wonderful things to say about our experiences watching this film - It is definitely deserving of it's 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

What did everyone like / not like about it?

I very much enjoyed this realist film. It's a quiet exploration of profound themes, and the intimacy and love between father/daughter duo Wil and Tom, is presented with a delicacy which won me over. No bells or whistles here- rather a slow organic movement through the film, which compliments the restraint and humility showed by our characters as they combat PTSD, homelessness and the authorities who seek to remove them from their idyllic wilderness lifestyle. I sympathized with Wil's personal trauma and respected the fierce love he had for his daughter, whilst Tom’s steely grit and bright intelligence was admirable.  A movie which will stay with me for a while. - Vicky

A very well made and confident film, Leave No Trace knows what story it wants to tell, and how it wants to tell it. The film is delicately paced, allowing itself to patiently unfold without ever feeling tiresome or repetitive. It is also sweet and touching without feeling over-sentimental or saccharine. It's all incredibly well measured and I don't have a bad word to say about it. I just found that I was always at arm's reach from emotional investment in the story, and as a result, came away with a lot of appreciation and admiration for the film, without being head over heels for it. However, I did absolutely love Thomasin McKenzie's performance - one of my favourites in recent years. - Liam

I loved how polite and heartfelt it was. The main characters were honest and respectful, which I thought made it really charming. Conflicts weren't blown out of proportion as most Hollywood movies do these days, often raising the stakes just a bit too high. But normal life doesn't always have that. This movie subtly showed the obstacles of their lives without cheapening their very special relationships. The performances were outstanding, which is what I've come to no less expect from Ben Foster, who plays the father. - Lukas

I loved this film. It was soft, real and humble. Everything felt intentional and it didn't go too far in any direction. The interactions between characters were honest and realistic, it looked beautiful and I didn't encounter any moments where I was bored or frustrated waiting for it to end. A lovely story in this often harsh world. One of the most underrated films of the year, in my opinion. Mali

Beautifully understated. No overacting, no huge climactic event, no melodramatic dialogue. With so many overused film aspects ‘missing’, nothing actually feels like its missing. Perfectly cast, the two leads each deliver a peaceful performance. The lack of drama lulls you into feeling like you’re watching everyday life… but not actually watching everyday life. A really enjoyable film that encourages the audience to consider a view of the world outside of their own. - Sally

Keywords used to describe this movie:

Beautiful. Soft. Intentional. Honest. Heartfelt. Understated. Realistic. Trauma. Touching. Patient. Coming-of-age. Pleasant. Unique. Sincere. Polite. Loving. Melancholy.


What did you think of Leave No Trace? We'd love to hear your thoughts! And make sure you stay up to date with the films so you can join in the conversation next fortnight.



And the next film is…

Title: BlackKklansmanSDC_2391527_2018-31-10--00-15-17
Genre: Biography
Classification: MA15+
Director: Spike Lee

Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, CO, successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate who eventually becomes its leader. Based on actual events.

Leave a Reply

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.