Leave No Trace is an emotional story about a traumatized veteran (Will) who has removed himself from society and is living off the grid, and his thirteen year old daughter (Tom) who, though devoted to her father, comes to learn that his way of life is not for her. The film starts out with us getting a look at their day to day life living in the forest near Portland Oregon. They live in a tent, have a small garden, gather mushrooms, and gather rainwater in a poncho tied between a few trees. They also buy small amounts of groceries using money Will makes by selling his PTSD medication, which causes him to suffer with nightmares. On top of all this, Will also teaches Tom to camouflauge herself and cover her tracks, aa skil we soon see them using when their campsite is discovered by foresters and the police are called.
A distance begins to form between Will and his daughter after they are caught located to a tree farm where Will is given work. We see that Tom, despite years of living with her father in the woods, is ready in integrate into society. She socializes with the neighbors, enjoys the donated gifts a social worker brings them, and suggests to her father that she get a phone. Will, on the other hand, is out place. He has no desire for any possessions, telling this to the social worker. When Tom brings up the idea of getting the phone, he tells her that they never had trouble communicating before. There is also a scene where he has a panic attack as a helicopter flies overhead. Eventually, he can’t take it anymore and wakes Tom up early one morning, telling her to pack whatever she needs before taking her away to live back in the forest. From there the distance grows more as Tom struggles between her devotion to her father and her desire to break free from his way of life.
The focus of the film is completely on the relationship if its two main characters and the conflict that Tom has staying with her father. The story is very relaxed and uses visuals to mostly tell its story (anyone who has read my blogs knows this is always a big plus for me). Leave No Trace was a well done and emotional movie that was well worth the watch