Leave No Trace ★★★½

In Leave No Trace, Debra Granik traces the journey of a father (Will) and daughter (Tom) from the wilderness to civilization and back again. Like her 2010 Winter's Bone, her new film portrays the daily trials and triumphs of specific American subcultures; in this case, homeless communities in the densely forested Northwest. Granik has a real knack for depicting the beauty and sorrow in mundane activities. An early scene features Will teaching Tom how to traverse the woods without leaving footprints. Like Winter's Bone, I found Leave No Trace to be an effective film that occasionally meanders and perhaps plays things a little too safe. Granik seems content to hover over the surface of human relationships without getting too close to the emotional cores of those relationships. Ben Foster's performance is serviceable, if not too distant, but its Thomasin McKenzie whose breakthrough performance gives the film its shining moments.