Lean on Pete

USA 2017. Dir: Andrew Haigh. 121 mins. VENUE: Various cinemas. Opens April 20, 2018

Reviewer Ed Farolan

For those who love horses, this is a heart-warming story. Based on the novel of the same title by Willy Vlautin, it was screened in the main competition section of the 74th Venice International Film Festival, where Charlie Plummer won the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor.

It´s about15-year-old Charley Thompson, well-acted by Charlie Plummer, who arrives in Portland, Oregon with his single father Ray (Travis Fimmel), both of them eager for a fresh start after a series of bad luck. While Ray continues with his personal problems, 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 owner Del Montgomery (the veteran multi-awarded 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 west in search of a loving aunt Charley hasn't seen in years. This odyssey is adventurous yet heartbreaking, but Charley is resilient and doesn´t give up hope as he pursues his dream of finding a place he can call home.

Critics, including myself, give this film a high rating. 9 out of 10, from my vantage point.

© 2018 Ed Farolan