Leave No Trace

One of America’s greatest filmmakers, Debra Granik finds her stories on the margins of a wealthy society. Her potent debut feature, Down to the Bone (2004), gave Vera Farmiga a breakout role as a working-class mom fighting cocaine addiction in upstate New York, her rocky personal situation aggravated by the family’s nickeled-and-dimed existence. Granik’s sophomore effort, Winter’s Bone (2010), brought critical acclaim to TV actress Jennifer Lawrence for her flinty performance as an impoverished 17-year-old girl fending for herself and her younger siblings in the Ozarks. A sense of economic injustice colors both movies, yet their stories are small and intimate: years after seeing Down to the Bone, I can still recall the look on Farmiga’s face when her character, given a reality check by a drug counselor, understands that her two young sons know exactly what she’s doing when she locks herself in the bathroom. Continue reading>>