Leave No Trace
Directed by Debra Granik
A father and daughter live off the grid.
Just as Debra Granik’s previous feature film gave the world Jennifer Lawrence, her new one is “a joyous introduction to Thomasin McKenzie,” said David Edelstein in NYMag.com. The Kiwi actress plays a young teenager who lives with her father in a forested park outside Portland, Ore., and in that role her watchful eyes serve her well, because she speaks carefully, “as if words are too dear to waste on inessentials.” The heart of the film is the girl’s rapport with her dad, a traumatized vet, and how they negotiate her need for independence. Hell or High Water’s Ben Foster plays the father, and the actor’s natural volatility “has seldom been put to better use,” said David Ehrlich in IndieWire.com. His Will seems always about to explode, yet once he and his girl are chased from their forest and have to find a new home, “Leave No Trace sprouts into an extraordinarily graceful film about what people need from each other, and the limits of what they can give of themselves.” It’s also about Will, and what his past has done to him, and Granik doesn’t need any villains or big showdowns to pull off an impressive sleight of hand, said Anthony Lane in The New Yorker. “Here, among the peaceful trees, without a shot fired, she has made a war film.” ■