Leave No Trace

This poignant story around a father daughter relationship is stellar cinema that has a tranquil and immersive feel to it. It is emotionally touching and beautiful in the tender manner it portrays love ,understanding , companionship and the need for people to live in isolation or community.

Cast – Ben Forester, Thomas McKenzie

Director – Debra Granik

Based on – 2009 novel by Peter Rock “ My Abandonment “


Will and his teenage daughter Tom live in a dense forest in Oregon in an idyllic bliss surrounded by nature and lush greenery. They live in a tent, chop wood ,use flints to light fire, survive off mushrooms; it’s an isolated minimalistic life in the most primitive manner with only occasional shopping visits to the city.

He’s an ex-Vet suffering from PTSD ( post-traumatic stress disorder) , but has brought up Tom in the most wonderful way teaching her not only amazing survival skills but academics too.

Tom ,an exceptionally intelligent ,quiet and loving child, knows no other life ever since child hood.

Their paradisiacal life goes for a toss when they are discovered by police for living unlawfully on public land and attempts are made to inhabit them in civilisation and community life.

Will ’s extreme difficulty to be able to live in a community ,however small or remote and Tom’s new found discovery of the joys of having people around gives way to her love and craving for the community life. Her realisation of the kind of life she wants , its contradiction with what Tom wants, is heart touching.

Watch this wonderful , thought provoking and compelling film to see how differently human beings are wired, to see a different level of love and understanding ,such unique (to us maybe) and different ways of living and different kinds of normal that varies person to person.


Debra Granik is an exceptional film maker for the beauty of the expanse that she creates and the depth and sensitivity with which she portrays people ,relationships and their psyches.

The film has a serene and soothing feel to it almost like a balm.

Thomas Mckenzie makes a mind-blowing debut as a 13 year old. I have no words to express her exceptional and mature portrayal.

If you have a palate of slow and immersive films , then this one is a must watch.

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