Leave No Trace: Home is where the heart is

August 24, 2018


Leave No Trace (G)
Rating 4 / 5 


Homelessness is an issue that The Salvation Army deals with every day and Leave No Trace is a film with an unusual vision of homelessness, based on a true story.

Vietnam veteran Will (Ben Foster) has been damaged by his war experiences and creates an alternative way of living for himself and daughter Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), a life that does not involve living in a conventional community or needing more than the basics to survive.

When we meet him, Will and teenage daughter Tom have been living undetec­ted for years in the woods on the edge of Portland, Oregon. 

But when they are discovered, authorities insist on rehousing them in a remote farmhouse where they can supposedly live similar lives, but with schooling for Tom and farm work for Will. However, it’s not long until Will and Tom escape this kindly conceived confinement, and attempt to return to their simple existence that made them content and fulfilled.

“When Tom and her father are evicted from public land and don’t have a safety net, those are high stakes. Where do people who don’t fit neatly into the mainstreams of our culture go and how do they fare?” director Debra Granik questions.

It’s a question that aligns with issues frequently faced by the Salvos.

And there’s another interesting question the film raises—can people live happily and richly with few possessions? The difference between want and need is something this film makes us think about.

Leave No Trace asks the kind of questions that Jesus put to his disciples.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew chapter 6 verse 25)

In our busy hi-tech lives, sometimes we need to be reminded of these truths, and Leave No Trace does just that.


+ Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie’s charismatic performance


 Mature themes


Tags: Salvation Army Australia

Please reload

Vol. 139, No. 14 // 11 April 2020

Please reload

Please reload

Please reload