LEAVE NO TRACE
* * * ½
(Poignant father/daughter story)
Ben Foster plays a widowed father suffering from PTSD who lives in an Oregon state park with his young teenage daughter (Thomasin McKenzie), teaching her survival skills as they avoid the authorities. Both are devoted to each other, living the life of homelessness until they are apprehended by park rangers, given psychological evaluations, and placed in a simple home on a tree farm.
Will has trouble adjusting to his new life, while daughter Tom starts to enjoy a "normal" life. Will must move on, taking his daughter further north into a colder Washington, where they encounter more challenges and some very helpful, caring people.
The movie moves slowly toward its destined conclusion, but not before showing us the strong bond between father and daughter and the powerful lesson that Tom tells her father: "The same thing that's wrong with you isn't wrong with me."
This simple, basic movie takes a close look at mental illness and homelessness without pounding it into you. This is one of those movies that sneaks up on you and makes you think and feel for the characters.