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Critic's Choice: 'Leave No Trace' makes its mark

Critic's Choice: 'Leave No Trace' makes its mark
Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie and Ben Foster in the movie "Leave No Trace." (Scott Green / Bleecker Street)

Don't let "Leave No Trace" leave town without seeing it on the big screen. Sure to be a player in year-end critics’ choices and Spirit Award nominations, this is as good an American independent film as the year has produced.

Fiercely involving in a way we're not used to, made with sensitivity and honesty by director-cowriter Debra Granik, it tells its emotional story of a father and daughter living dangerously off the grid in way that is unnerving and uncompromising, yet completely satisfying.

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Just like Granik's earlier film "Winter's Bone," which launched Jennifer Lawrence, "Leave No Trace" depends on spectacular acting, in this case by Ben Foster, who leaves his mark on every film he does, and an incandescent 17-year-old Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, a quiet knockout from New Zealand. Playing in theaters all across Los Angeles, it should not be missed.

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