If there’s a complaint to made about Debra Granik it’s that she doesn’t make nearly enough movies. She has been a mainstay at Sundance with each of her feature films, starting with Down to the Bone in 2004, followed six years later with her breakout Winter’s Bone which introduced the world to somebody named Jennifer Lawrence. And it took eight long years for her to return to Park City with her third narrative feature, Leave No Trace, which features another stunning debut by a rising female star.
Eighteen-year-old Thomasin McKenzie is the runaway star of Leave No Trace, although Ben Foster deserves his share of accolades as well. The film resembles Granik’s previous effort in that it is once again a look at hard-living people on the margins of society. Foster and McKenzie play a father and daughter living off the land in the wilds of Portlands, OR, until society comes crashing into their lives, threatening to wreck the bond they share.
I came away from the premiere suitably impressed by Granik but perhaps not as much as others. It was McKenzie’s towering performance opposite a near-silent Foster that won me over. Here is the official synopsis:
Will (Ben Foster) and his teenage daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), have lived off the grid for years in the forests of Portland, Oregon. When their idyllic life is shattered, both are put into social services. After clashing with their new surroundings, Will and Tom set off on a harrowing journey back to their wild homeland. The film is directed by Debra Granik from a script adapted by Granik and Anne Rosellini.
Leave No Trace opens June 29th.