If you’re looking for something to stream today while you’ve got time off from work, you could probably do a lot worse than Leave No Trace — a 2018 indie drama from Bleecker Street starring Ben Foster as the father of a 13-year-old daughter. Their characters are living in a vast urban park in Portland, Oregon, basically trying to stay under the radar and off the grid. Eventually, the authorities catch up to them and force Foster’s character (an Iraq war veteran) and his daughter to adhere to more traditional ways of life.
The movie, from director Debra Granik, is nothing short of a masterpiece, and it’s based on My Abandonment, a 2009 novel by Peter Rock. Both the book, and the movie version of Leave No Trace, are beautiful, hopeful, heartbreaking, and profound — while the movie is also reportedly the most-reviewed with a 100% approval rating in the history of Rotten Tomatoes.
It’s also leaving Netflix tomorrow, on July 4. But not to worry if you’re reading this too late; after today, you can still also get the film from digital rental or purchase sites like Amazon or Apple’s iTunes.
Pop culture critic Isaac Felderb, writing on Twitter, has raved about Leave No Trace that it’s “one of the great recent American films. An aching portrait of nature, nurture, and life on the margins that captures the truth of its characters, one retreating as the other emerges, amid the vivid flourishing of their environment.”
The 100 percent critics score on Rotten Tomatoes comes from 252 reviews. Like this 3.5/4 review from one of my personal favorite critics, ReelViews’ James Berardinelli: “Occasionally uplifting and sometimes heartbreaking, it is nothing less than sublime.”
I can’t praise the movie enough, from the way the cinematography makes the lushness of the Pacific Northwest come alive to the gripping lead performances from Foster and Thomasin McKenzie as his teenage daughter. Leave No Trace is absolutely a must-watch.