I had the unique privilege of reading My Abandonment in Pete Rock’s creative nonfiction class during my junior year at Reed College, a tiny, liberal arts school in Portland, Oregon. I already knew that I wanted to write a creative thesis my senior year, but I had not yet taken a creative writing class (oops). Pete was kind enough to take a chance on me, accepting me into his mostly full upper-level course. It was in this course that we read a vast array of creative nonfiction, a unique genre that Pete capped off with one of his own works.
The writing of My Abandonment is solid, of course, the story of a weathered Iraq war verteran and his thirteen-year-old daughter imbued with the rough Oregon life that I myself had been growing accustomed to for the past two and a half years. Continue reading ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No.7: Leave No Trace
Based on the book by Daniel Woodrell, “Winter’s Bone” is a truly engrossing and remarkable film by Debra Granik who is such an underrated director and it’s wonderful to see two of her films make our ITO Top 50 countdown. Adapted by Granik and Anne Rosellini, “Winter’s Bone” takes place in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, where teenage Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) is trying to provide for her household: her mother has become catatonic with depression and her younger brother and sister (Ashlee Thompson and Isaiah Stone) need looking after. Continue reading ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 17 : Winter’s Bone
Debra Granik is an expert in creating stories with a naturalistic sense and giving us characters that are vulnerable, and organic. “Leave No Trace” (2018) is no exception. Will (Ben Foster) and his thirteen-year-old daughter Tom (Thomasin Mckenzie) live alone in a remote part of the woods. There they’ve survived, without technology or material things, and he’s taught her the skills needed to make it away from the world. Will desperately does not want to be found and the two practice drills to ensure Tom is ready if something happens. Is it for the best? The film tackles the familial impact in a new and gradually compelling way. Continue reading Retrospective Review: Leave No Trace