Lean on Pete
Directed by Andrew Haigh. UK. 2017. R. 2 hours 1 minutes. A24. Digital.
Fri., May 4, 2018 thru Thu., May 17, 2018
Ends Thu, May 17.
Fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson (Charlie Plummer) arrives in Portland, Oregon with his single father Ray (Travis Fimmel), both of them eager for a fresh start after a series of hard knocks. While Ray descends into personal turmoil, Charley finds acceptance and camaraderie at a local racetrack where he lands a job caring for an aging Quarter Horse named Lean On Pete. The horse’s gruff owner Del Montgomery (Steve Buscemi) and his seasoned jockey Bonnie (Chloë Sevigny) help Charley fill the void of his father’s absence—until he discovers that Pete is bound for slaughter, prompting him to take extreme measures to spare his new friend’s life. Charley and Pete head out into the great unknown, embarking on an odyssey across the new American frontier in search of a loving aunt Charley hasn’t seen in years. They experience adventure and heartbreak in equal measure, but never lose their irrepressible hope and resiliency as they pursue their dream of finding a place they can call home.
“This sparse, evocative portrait of lives of quiet desperation juxtaposed against the endless possibility of America’s wide open mid-western vistas is a striking change of approach after the deft intimacy of [Haigh’s] Weekend and 45 Years. There’s a wistful quality to the storytelling which softens some of the sharper edges of tragedy and hardship in this undeniably affecting picture.” – Wendy Ide, Screen Daily
“What happens to Charley, the film posits, the bad and the good, is not so much the fault of specific individuals but of the indifferent dead ends built into America’s despairing culture of the underclass. Your heart goes out to this striving, yearning young man, and that’s a tribute to the fine filmmaking on display.” – Kenneth Turan, The L.A. Times
Thinking about bringing your children to this film? Check out the Common Sense Media review. They’re recommending the film for ages 15+.