Lean on Pete

2017

Adventure / Drama

25
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 92%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 82%
IMDb Rating 7.3 10 3113

Synopsis


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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Irena (irenaspa) 8 / 10

Very heavy story

Athough the title of the movie gives us something soft and nice, be ready to deal with the cruelty of the real life. It is really a nice story, but for someone more than heavy for his/her expectations. Director Andrew Haigh showed us mainly how looks life of American underclass, what isn't what we can see in some profitable and big budget movies. The young actor, Charlie Plummer, gives us the picture of a good acting and what to say more than that he is the best of all other members in that cast. A natural gift to be a good actor.

Reviewed by David Ferguson 7 / 10

a boy and his burdens

Greetings again from the darkness. Andrew Haigh's follow-up to his gut-wrenching 45 YEARS (2015) is "a boy and a horse" movie that is every bit as emotionally draining, and secures his spot as one of the best filmmakers at bringing characters we thoroughly believe to the screen. It's based on the novel by Willy Vlautin and could be described as coming-of-age, slice-of-life, or even a road movie. While it's each of these, it is also much more ... though I fear it is one of this year's indie gems that will likely slide between the cracks with far too few taking the time to experience it.

Charlie Plummer was most recently seen in ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD as Getty's kidnapped grandson. Here he stars as Charley, a 15 year old boy living a half-step from poverty with his caring, but unprepared single dad (Travis Fimmel). Charley goes for morning runs around town, and his polite mannerisms include effusive praising and expressing gratitude to his dad's mistress (Amy Seimitz) for cooking a full breakfast - a rare treat for this growing teenager. Charley stumbles into part time work with has-been horse trainer Del (Steve Buscemi), a man whose career, health and demeanor have all seen better days. Horse trainer in this context is far removed from the glamour of the Kentucky Derby. Del works his horses hard for meager winnings on the county fair circuit, and when their time is up, the horses are shipped to Mexico for 'processing'.

Charley and Del form a bond based on Del's cheapness and Charley's work ethic and love of the horses. When tragedy strikes, the movie shifts to a road trip vibe, with Bonnie (Chloe Sevigny) joining on as a jockey. The three are a quasi-family but mostly they are each just trying to get along in a life that isn't always kind. When Charley ignores Bonnie's advice to not get too attached to the horses, he and the titular Pete are soon trudging across the backcountry.

Charley's life on the streets provides many life lessons, but not much joy. He crosses paths with an initially friendly addict named Silver (Steve Zahn), and along the trip, his childhood memories provide some hope - especially as related to Aunt Margy (Alison Elliott). These all feel like real folks that we could meet at any time. Some are helpful, yet the biggest life lesson of all comes roaring through these mostly quiet scenes - people care most about themselves.

This most certainly isn't a Disney-style horse movie like DREAMER, and in fact, it's much less a horse story than it is Charley's story. The core message seems to be that no matter how gentle one's soul, human nature adapts in times of desperation. It's pure cinematic pleasure to have both Mr. Buscemi and Ms. Sevigny in the same film, but the shining light here is Charlie Plummer. With little dialogue, he conveys so much about what he is thinking and feeling. His desire is to have some stability - someone or something that he can depend on. It's the security many of us take for granted. Cinematographer Magnus Nordenhof Jonck (A WAR, 2015) beautifully captures the endless Pacific Northwest landscapes, while also managing the intimate and thoughtful moments. Mr. Haigh's two most recent films add him to my must-see list ... I just wish there were more who would find pleasure in his displays of lack of joy.

Reviewed by rockman182 7 / 10

Lean on Pete (2018)

I heard great things about this film on the indie circuit. The trailer didn't really seem so interesting to me. I've hated horse centered movies in the past. Did not like Secretariat or War Horse so I thought this film was going to be largely unimpressive for me. Having never seen Andrew Haigh's films I didn't know what to expect. Now having seen it, I liked the film quite a bit. There are problems, sure, but its mostly impressive and shows that Charlie Plummer is a talent.

The film follows a 15 year old boy who grows attached to a race horse named Lean on Pete. During this time in is life his father tragically dies and he learns that the flailing horse is most likely going to be transported to be killed. The boy must try to save the horse and also survive all by himself with no one really there to look out for him. The film also stars Steve Buscemi, Chloe Sevigny, and Steve Zahn.

Charlie Plummer is excellent in this film and does well to show that he is a talented young man. His journey is about the affection he has for the race horse but its not entirely about that. His life has changed since the death of his father and it really is a tale of not knowing what to do and trying to survive in the world. The film can be somber at times and all things and characters in Plummer's characters life come and go.

The film does suffer from slow passages and its long running length. Its easy to have moments where your attention wanes. Overall, the film is well made. Its a characters journey and its crazy to see how things can change so suddenly for someone. The film has a talented cast and I'd say is definitely worth a watch especially if you're a film lover who likes to watch everything.

7/10

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