Movie Review Friday: Leave No Trace

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between being homeless and living off the grid?

Before seeing the movie ‘Leave No Trace‘, I never considered the two to be so wildly similar. Society paints the picture that being homeless isn’t a choice and an unfortunate situation, while choosing to live off the grid is a vigilant and courageous act.

Leave No Trace challenges that comparison.

Leaving viewers wondering; what is the difference between being homeless and living off the grid. In the movie, Leave No Trace, Will (Ben Foster) and his teenage daughter Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie) live off the grid in the forests of Portland Oregon. Their surroundings are lush, serene, and full of life. They seem to live off the land, use only what they need, and steer clear of technology. In an always-on-the-go life, I personally look at their life in envy. How cool would it be to unplug from the day to day and just live?

But then they get caught…

Shortly after falling in love with their off-the-grid lifestyle, Will and Tom get caught by social services and forced back into society. Will is given a job, Tom is placed in school, and they are required to live in a home with four walls and a roof. Will is a war veteran with severe PTSD who wants nothing to do with societal norms, while Tom is intrigued by learning everything a community has to offer.

So what’s my opinion on Leave No Trace?

I have mixed emotions on the film, ‘Leave No Trace‘, because I can see it from both the perspective of Will and Tom. It’s very respectable that Will wants to live off the grid and avoid an imperfect society. But I also think it’s very unfair that Tom never gave his daughter a chance to form her own opinions.

This movie also opened my eyes to new perspectives. When they got caught, everyone called them homeless. There was no grey area in that judgement either. Will and Tom lived in a tent, in a park, therefore they were homeless. So even after the movie is over, I have no answer for this question: what is the difference between being homeless and living off the grid?

I was hooked on this movie, ‘Leave No Trace‘, from the second it started. The beautiful setting, the challenging values, and the heart-capturing actors were so well executed. I am still thinking about the movie today.

I definitely recommend watching it and if you do, let me know your take on what you think the difference is between being homeless and living off the grid is.

My Rating:

I give it 5 stars and say it’s a must watch. Trav liked this movie, I loved the movie, and Leave No Trace can be watched around kids.

Leave No Trace is available on Digital 9/25 and Blue-ray and DVD on 10/2 #LeaveNoTrace


Leave No Trace


Katelynn Ansari

10 thoughts on “Movie Review Friday: Leave No Trace

  1. This seems super interesting. I always say my husband grew up off the grid because their home in PNW didn’t run off electricity they had generators and all that- but I guess I’ve been using that term loosely!

  2. Good review. This sounds like an interesting movie. I like the idea of living off the grid and being unplugged. I would like to watch this movie.

  3. I would be very interested in seeing this and the idea is interesting I think if they found them living in a tiny house on property there wouldn’t have been such an issue. But as a family that has downsized a lot and spent 3 months traveling after we sold our home there is a lot to be said for the bonds you build and learning to live with less.

  4. This is very interesting. My husband and I have joked about living off the grid before. What a whole different life! But I definitely agree that the girl should get a chance to live in society and make the choice for herself!

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