LEAVE NO TRACE
hopscotchee: ben foster score: 73.5 rating: pg time: 119 minutes
yum!! what a juicy movie we've got for you up next!! although more of a sleeper compared to sugary and sour pop culture staples, the hush indie flick, leave no trace was deliciously fresh as heck and plump with seamless progression and harmonious composition, silently but surely proving itself to be an extremely thoughtful and well told father-daughter drama!! however, having said that, although original and interesting, this film does unfortunately stick to its title a little too much, not really leaving anything behind that exceptionally stood out to have us going back for seconds.
as the story centered solely around a father and daughter living off the grid, the most memorable attribute of this film was its complementary use of natural sounds which all goes to the sound department. moving along with the story as one across a variety of settings from the forest to the roadside to ranches and stale business offices, it isn't an exaggeration to say that the location recordists a part of the sound mixing crew were literal asmr artists. well not literally, but if they wanted to, they could easily do it successfully!! their crisp attention to the sensory audio was keenly essential to bring this story to life as most of the script was made up of very little dialogue, leaving a ton of silent gaps. however, by making those silent moments not as flat by including the raw and prominent sounds and noises of nature or city life, the crew was able to capture the characters' surroundings greatly to create the mood and emotion of the film. sure, some audio tracks might've been startlingly louder than others (eh hmm the spoiler abrupt truck scenes), but this added to the awareness of the film that took the audience further within the story, experiencing everyday environments like front-yards and gas stations as if for the first time like the characters were.
similarly notable, the make-up & costume crews a part of leave no trace were gratefully applaudable for their realistic intentions. we say gratefully because even though it's not an 'issue' per say, we really appreciate the natural and normal appearances of characters, especially tom and bill in this film, and feel like the decision to cut the couture in costumes embraces your audience deeper in the story (their full attention being on the story itself rather than the showy, showy costumes). although not alluring the audience with all the show stopping glam, the simpleton look lets the characters resonate with the audience on a more personal level than say a styled designer ensemble on a high schooler or a full caked face of make up on someone who just woke up. going along with the simpleton vibe, holding back the chunky explanation, we really digged the target tees and uncombed fly aways!!
lastly, if there was one thing that stood out to us the most with this movie it was...the bunnies...lol. just kidding. not saying the bunnies weren't adorable af because they were and screams were most definitely a thing dedicated to them on our couch, but the most impactful attribute of this film to mention was the wisely mature storyline of the father and daughter's relationship. (spoiler) uniquely tackling the basic 'i'm not you, dad' phase of growing up and individuality, this film beautifully relays the message that no matter how much you'll always love and be influenced by a parent, you aren't them and although they have passed down a lot of wisdom and strengths to you, their demons and struggles aren't yours to carry with you. seen with tom's childhood which consisted of always being on the move, detached from society, as she began her adolescent life and became more aware of the world around her, she figured out that her lifestyle wasn't so common but in fact the way her fathered processed and coped with his ptsd. by developing this understanding, as she involved herself in society more and more throughout the film, the isolation, instability, and burden of her dad's 'life on the run' started to loose its value as she separated her needs from her father's, realizing the greater distinction that she'd never judge her father for his life's choices, but hers however, moving forward, would focus on her needs which were a stable living environment and community of her own...with, yes the bunnies!! overall, it was a very sincere interpretation of the leaving the 'nest' transition of life.
to this, all these things poetically pieced this film together, but like we mentioned above, as much as we appreciate and noted theses visuals and nosies, the lack of communication between characters exceptionally drew this movie to a slower pace, creating lulls of boredom in moments that, although juicy, could've been a tad more spicy!!
-- thanks, ben xo