Cannes Winner (Director’s Fortnight)
A father and his thirteen-year-old daughter are living in an ideal existence in a vast urban park in Portland, Oregon, when a small mistake derails their lives forever.
Will (Ben Foster) and his daughter Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie) have camped out in an Oregon nature reserve, apparently for years. Will’s motivations for doing so are never explicitly laid out, though references to his military service and general nerviness suggest enough about a general alienation from the world. He makes sure that Tom is healthy, fed, and educated, but stresses a need to remain hidden from others at all times. Though a teenager, Tom exhibits few signs of rebellion, trusting him entirely. Discovery tears them out of Eden and thrusts them into the social services system. Forcible reintegration into society initiates a gradual but inexorable change in this dynamic, as Tom becomes more curious about other people and more desiring of stability, while Will simply cannot change. The quest for home does not come to any grand destination, but instead an aching bittersweet inevitability. ‘Leave No Trace’s acute sense of place and how people relate to it makes for great, emotion-laden naturalism. Screened at Sundance and Cannes.
USA 2018 Debra Granik 109m