Leave No Trace (2018)

Leave No Trace
Director: Debra Granik
Writer: Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini
Based on: Peter Rock‘s novel My Abandonment
Cast: Thomasin McKenzie, Ben Foster, Dana Millican, Jeff Kober, Isaiah Stone, Dale Dickey
Seen on: 4.8.2018

Content note: PTSD

Plot:
Tom (Thomasin McKenzie) and her father Will (Ben Foster) live in the great forest of a state park. Their life isn’t exactly easy, but they are happy with the way things are, surviving mostly of the land. It’s just that it is actually isn’t legal to live in a state park. And Tom should probably be in school. So when they get spotted, their lives are quickly turned upside down.

Leave No Trace is a quiet, touching film that tells its actually devastating, realistic story with such a calm attitude that you’re able to breathe and work through the trauma along with the characters.

Film poster showing sunlight slanting through a redwood forest, with Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie very small in the corner walking through the forest.
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Down to the Bone (2004)

Down to the Bone
Director: Debra Granik
Writer: Debra Granik
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Hugh Dillon, Clint Jordan, Caridad De La Luz
Part of: Real America

Plot:
Irene (Vera Farmiga) is a mother of two boys, stuck in a rather joyless marriage with Steve (Clint Jordan) and a drug addict. When she even takes her son’s birthday money to buy coke, she realizes that she’s hit her low and goes into rehab. In rehab, she meets Bob (Hugh Dillon), a nurse with whom she immediately forms a bond. But it’s not that easy to get away from her old lifestyle.

Down to the Bone blew me away. Especially Vera Farmiga is a-ma-zing. But not only that, it’s also an honest look at drug addiction, without the usual narratives that often muddy the waters a little bit.

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Winter’s Bone (2010)

Winter’s Bone is Debra Granik‘s second movie, starring Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Lauren Sweetser and Dale Dickey.

Plot:
Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) is only a teenager, but she’s been taking care of her family – a psychotic mother and two little kids – ever since her father got arrested for drug dealing. When the sheriff (Garret Dillahunt) turns up to tell her that her father gave their house and land as security for his bail and disappeared, Ree can’t take the risk of losing everything. So she starts to look for her father. But it seems that nobody wants her to find him.

Winter’s Bone is an excellently cast, wonderfully shot and very atmospheric film. Despite being not that “actiony”, it’s a very tense film and one that will draw you in right away.

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