October 28, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Review: Leave No Trace Leaves Lasting Impression

By Nick Boyd

“Leave No Trace” (based on the book “My Abandonment” by Peter Rock), which stars Ben Foster as Will and newcomer Thomasin McKenzie as Tom, is a meticulously crafted and compassionate look at hardship and nonconformity.  Will and Tom are father and daughter who have been living a survivalist existence in the woods in the Pacific Northwest for as long as Tom can remember.  Their relationship is tender and poignant.

Upon being discovered, the two are shown in the film attempting to re-adjust to society.  After being taken in by social services, Will and Tom are questioned about their living styles and given tests – Will to asses his emotional well-being and Tom to see where she measures up academically compared to her peers.  A kind farmer allows them to live in his guest house, provided that Will helps him out with tree cutting.  Tom seems to like this new environment, and it gives her a taste of life outside of the woods.  She even meets an adolescent male who introduces her to a local 4-H club, where she gets experience tending to a rabbit.  Will, meanwhile, seems constricted and conflicted, as we see him put a TV in the closet.  When he is faced with enrolling Tom in school, he sees that as their opportunity to pack up their things and move back to the woods.


They then hit the road, back to their nomadic life, with no sure destination in mind, as long as it is in the wilderness.  This poses its share of risks, as they find themselves hitchhiking and walking through Washington State woods in cold weather.  After a while, Tom expresses that she yearns for some of the comforts of a home, an existence Will finds confining and restrictive.  This is made even more apparent when the two of them find a community of sorts in the woods where they feel a sense of belonging with the people who live there, especially Tom.

The performances feel natural and the movie unfolds in what feels like a real-life way.  The film is able to reveal a great deal with its silences and stillness.  McKenzie gives a remarkable performance that is completely without any child actor mannerisms.  The cinematography is breathtaking, yet at the same time underscores the harshness of the environment that father and daughter find themselves in.  “Leave No Trace” joins a growing list of worthwhile movies that depict characters who find themselves living on the margins and/or who go on personal journeys of self-discovery – “Wild,” “Captain Fantastic,” and “Lean on Pete.”  “Leave No Trace” does leave an indelible trace on the viewer.

Related Posts

Owner Says Missing French Bulldog Seen With Homeless Man Throughout Santa Monica

October 26, 2020

October 26, 2020

Social media effort to find missing French Bulldog ‘Melo’ By Sam Catanzaro The owners of a missing French Bulldog say...

Santa Monica Police to Increase Presence Ahead of Election

October 26, 2020

October 26, 2020

Elevated police presence to begin October 30 department says By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica police say they will increase their...

Santa Monica School Board Approves Purchases $21 Million Building

October 25, 2020

October 25, 2020

Santa Monica Malibu School Board votes 6-1 to purchase office building at 1717 4th Street By Toi Creel The Santa...

City Council Endorsements: Santa Monica Needs a Change

October 22, 2020

October 22, 2020

Santa Monica City Council endorsements from the Santa Monica Mirror The following are two endorsement articles from Santa Monica Mirror...

Forma Expanding to Main Street: Westside Food Scene

October 22, 2020

October 22, 2020

Westside Food Scene October 22, 2020 By Kerry Slater Forma Expanding to Main Street Popular Santa Monica Italian restaurant Forma...

California Supreme Court to Hear Santa Monica Voting Rights Case

October 22, 2020

October 22, 2020

Court to rule on future of at-large elections in Santa Monica By Sam Catanzaro The California Supreme Court will determine...

Santa Monica Has Issued Over 40 Face Covering Citations

October 20, 2020

October 20, 2020

City expanding COVID-19 compliance efforts with the addition of “Health Ambassadors”  By Sam Catanzaro The City of Santa Monica says...

Grand Jury Indicts Former Angel Employee in Tyler Skaggs’ Fatal Overdose

October 19, 2020

October 19, 2020

Fort Wayne grand jury indicts Eric Prescott Kay on drug distribution and drug conspiracy charges By Sam Catanzaro A federal...

Outgoing Santa Monica Police Chief Set to Receive Nearly $100K of Severance Pay

October 19, 2020

October 19, 2020

Santa Monica City Council approves retirement agreement for outgoing chief Cynthia Renaud By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica’s outgoing police chief...

Santa Monica’s Police Chief Retiring

October 16, 2020

October 16, 2020

SMPD Cynthia Renaud announces retirement, to be replaced by former Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica has announced...

Santa Monica Spa Owner Admits Price Gouging in Sale of Scarce N95 Masks

October 15, 2020

October 15, 2020

Niki Schwarz, owner of Tikkun Holistic Spa, pleads guilty to federal charges A Santa Monica day spa owner was charged...

French Restaurant Reopens in Santa Monica After a Decade

October 15, 2020

October 15, 2020

Le Petit Chez Mimi now open on Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica By Kerry Slater A restaurant that was located...

Heat Advisory in Effect for Santa Monica

October 13, 2020

October 13, 2020

Heat advisory in effect until 5 p.m. Friday By Sam Catanzaro The National Weather Service (NWS) has declared a heat...