The 65th Sydney Film Festival – 6-17 June 2018
Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone, SFF 2010) returns with a delicate drama about a father and daughter who are found by authorities after living off-grid in the wilderness for years.
Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone, SFF 2010) returns with a delicate drama about a father and daughter who are found by authorities after living off-grid in the wilderness for years. Will (Ben Foster) and his teenage daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie) lead a seemingly idyllic existence in a large nature reserve in Oregon, and have done so for years. Far from the prying eyes of authorities, they forage for food, and Will passes on both survival skills and a moral code to the smart and curious Tom. When the two are discovered, they are removed from the park and placed under the care of social services, who do everything possible to keep father and daughter together. But adjustment to mainstream society proves difficult, particularly for the traumatised Will. Granik who famously discovered Jennifer Lawrence for Winter’s Bone has again found an actress of immense talent in the New Zealander Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie. Her portrayal of a loving daughter torn between her devotion to her father and her own desires, is a star-making turn. Once again, Granik excels in her empathetic portraiture of American characters we seldom see on screen in such a detailed and nuanced way. Leave No Trace is a film of great sensitivity and compassion.
An absorbing, delicately directed and acted father-daughter drama. – Jon Frosch, The Hollywood Reporter
A father and daughter live off the grid, but how much longer can they live together? That question drives the exceedingly moving Leave No Trace, a character drama told with remarkable understatement and specificity. – Tim Grierson, Screen International
Debra Granik is a director and screenwriter whose 2010 film Winter’s Bone starred Jennifer Lawrence and was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture. Her first film, Down to the Bone, won Granik the Best Director prize at Sundance 2004. In 2015, Granik completed Stray Dog, a feature documentary. Leave No Trace, her fourth feature-length film, played at the Sundance Film Festival and at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.