“I found the film to be an honest, coming-of-age piece of picaresque Americana with a strong lead acting performance from Charlie Plummer. The film’s winding vignettes were effective and the ending was impactful,” said Greg Sorvig, Heartland Film’s director of film programming.
From acclaimed filmmaker Andrew Haigh (“Weekend”; “45 Years”), and based on the beloved novel by Willy Vlautin, comes “Lean on Pete”—a deeply moving story about love, loneliness, family, and friendship, told through the unique prism of one boy’s connection to a very special racehorse.
Fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson (Charlie Plummer) arrives in Portland, Oregon with his single father Ray (Travis Fimmel), both 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 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.
Featuring an incredible breakout turn by Charlie Plummer (“The Dinner”; “King Jack”; “All The Money in the World”) and memorable supporting work by indie stalwarts Buscemi, Sevigny, and Steve Zahn, “Lean on Pete” is a compassionate and heartrending look at the desire for love, family, and acceptance that drives all of us.