A teenager gets a summer job working for a horse trainer and befriends the fading racehorse, Lean on Pete.
‘Lean on Pete’ is a coming of age film about Charley (Charlie Plummer), a quiet and introverted teenage boy who lives with his father (Travis Fimmel) until a tragic incident throws his life into disarray. This incident comes after Charley finds work at a local stable, helping to care for an ageing racehorse named ‘Lean on Pete’, and the bond Charley forms with the horse comes squarely into focus as he tries to come to terms with the situation he finds himself in. It’s probably a little too long and often relies on plot conveniences to drive the story forward, but it’s a nice film overall and provides a solid showcase for 18-year-old Charlie Plummer (possibly known to most as John Paul Getty III in Ridley Scott’s ‘All the Money in the World’).
‘Lean on Pete’ comes from British filmmaker Andrew Haigh, responsible for lauded films such as ‘Weekend’ and ’45 Years’, which garnered an Oscar nomination for Charlotte Rampling, and he proves equally at home in the American Midwest as he does on our side of the Atlantic. The film has a poetic sensibility to it and brings in elements of westerns and road movies, particularly once the film starts to focus solely on Charley and the racehorse. As talented a young actor as Plummer is, I did think the film started to lose something once the bulk of the screentime moved away from the adult perspectives in his life, and I’d have liked to have spent more time with the characters played by Steve Buscemi and Chloe Sevigny in particular.
‘Lean on Pete’ is a well-made drama from Andrew Haigh about a young man at a crossroads in his life and whilst I felt it dragged for a spell in the middle, its kept going through Plummer’s empathetic portrayal of Charley.
Directed By: Andrew Haigh
Starring: Charlie Plummer, Travis Fimmel, Chloe Sevigny, Amy Seimetz, Steve Zahn and Steve Buscemi