An exquisitely poignant movie about a father and daughter trying to live off the grid in the woods out of town.
Ben Foster gives a truly amazing, understated performance as Will, the “psychologically damaged” father back from the un-named horrors of war, who has lost his wife and mother to his daughter, Tom. Thomasin McKenzie as Tom, brings a gentle, caring teenager, supporting her father, who is trying to retreat from the world into the woods.
The film is beautifully shot, and the pair are very believable as they hide out from the authorities who want her “in school” and him in some gainful employment, separating and further traumatising both of them while doing the “right thing”. But Will, with his unseen, unacknowledged PTSD, is unable to settle into “normal” suburban life, and needs to run constantly from his demons from the past.
Ultimately there is a poignant decision to be made, as daughter and father can no longer walk the same pathways. But this movie has such depth, and such compassion for its characters, and their struggles, that even though you know that a climax must come, it still takes you by surprise. Wonderful acting from the supporting cast, including a cameo by Isaiah Stone, adding complexity to Tom’s choices… But modern life cannot accommodate outliers, those who won’t conform.
This movie broke my heart, little by little, but has become my favourite indie movie for 2018. If you open your heart and mind, you will find it memorable. Oh, and no sex, drugs or rock and roll, nor animals were harmed – if you like your drama real and personal, and with no car chases or shoot ’em ups, this one is a winner!