Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
The Sydney Film Festival is wrapped up for 2019! Click here to check out our must-see films with the SWITCH team's reviews.x
review, Lean on Pete, Lean, on, Pete, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Charlie Plummer, Steve Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny, Travis Fimmel, Steve Zahn, Thomas Mann, Amy Seimetz, Frank Gallegos, Rachael Perrell Fosket, Justin Rain, Andrew Haigh film rating

LEAN ON PETE

★★★★

A JOURNEY TO UNCOVER LOVE AND CONNECTION

MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Charlie David Page
14th August 2018

Sometimes you can watch a trailer and feel like you’ve already seen the film in its entirety. Other times, the trailer will leave you with more questions than answers. When I first sat through the ‘Lean on Pete’ trailer a few months back, I had a very different concept of what this film would be. It seemed to be a reasonably innocent tale of the friendship between a boy and his horse, with a little family angst thrown in for good measure.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Charley (Charlie Plummer, ‘All The Money in the World’) has no mother, and a father (Travis Fimmel, TV’s ‘Vikings’, ‘Warcraft: The Beginning’) who is barely present, more concerned about sleeping with a steady stream of women than taking care of his son. When Charley comes across a stableyard on a morning run, Del (Steve Buscemi, ‘The Death of Stalin’, ‘Reservoir Dogs’, ‘Fargo’) offers him a job helping with menial tasks with his horses and transporting them to local racetracks. When an accident befalls his dad, it’s up to Charley to bring in money for the family - but the boy’s overly-sentimental attachment to a horse called Lean on Pete could compromise his employment and inadvertently lead to his life spiralling out of control.

'LEAN ON PETE' TRAILER

This description is deliberately vague and misleading, because to know what’s in store is to deny the emotional ride you will be sent on. As Charley’s situation rapidly escalates and he increasingly finds himself in situations no fifteen-year-old should be forced to endure, it can be a difficult to watch - he’s slowly stripped of everything in his life, until he’s left with absolutely nothing. Some would argue it’s a cathartic process, and that the place he ends up is better than where he began, but that discounts the physical and emotional turmoil that Charley is put through.

That turmoil is so poignant because of Charlie Plummer’s restrained, compelling performance. He’s a quiet force in the film, not absent from a single scene, yet making this fantastical situation believable. There are no dramatics as he faces rough times, which both makes the story tangible and his character endearing. It’s therefore the onscreen interactions when the film is at its peak - yes, of course, his friendship with Pete, but just as much his substitute parents in Del and his jockey, Bonnie (Chloë Sevigny, 'Beatriz at Dinner', 'Boys Don't Cry'). While both are brilliant, Sevigny’s character is fixating as she transforms herself into a tough rider with a soft side that oozes with sympathy for Charley’s situation.

That turmoil is so poignant because of Charlie Plummer’s restrained, compelling performance. He’s a quiet force in the film, barely absent from a single scene, making both the story tangible and his character endearing.

This is now writer/director Andrew Haigh’s fourth feature film, and while storywise they may be worlds apart, there are more than a few similarities with my favourite of his past films, ‘Weekend’. There’s a shared texture, both seeming sparse and somewhat bleak, whilst dealing with extremely personal situations. In both, the camerawork is more observational than intrusive, preferring to let the story play out than force it forward.

Haigh also adapted the story from Willy Vlautin’s 2010 novel of the same name, focusing on key elements of Charley’s character: “Willy’s novel is heartbreaking but never sentimental,” Haigh explains. “Charley’s relationship with Pete reveals the inherent kindness of this kid - and his deep understanding that we all share a very basic need to feel protected.”

Throughout this tale is a persevering desire for Charley to find stability and feel loved and connected. It interweaves personal, moving moments with times of great despair, but it’s the unwavering dedication of this boy to reach his end goal which was most affecting for me. The strength of human endurance can be infinite, even under the harshest of circumstances. Witnessing Charley’s journey had me behind him every step of the way, feeling the pain of his failings and great joy at every small victory. ‘Lean on Pete’ is an amalgamation of emotions, offering an all-too realistic glimpse at the struggles of life through the eyes of a fifteen-year-old boy. Delicately handled, it shows great control from a skilled cast and crew, and great promise for Charlie Plummer as an impressive actor to watch.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 29/11/2018
RUN TIME: 2h 1m
CAST: Charlie Plummer
Steve Buscemi
Chloë Sevigny
Travis Fimmel
Steve Zahn
Thomas Mann
Amy Seimetz
Frank Gallegos
Rachael Perrell Fosket
Justin Rain
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Andrew Haigh
PRODUCER: Tristan Goligher
SCORE: James Edward Barker
www.leanonpete-movie.com
LeanOnPeteMovie
LeanOnPeteMovie
LeanOnPeteMovie
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Looking for more Melbourne International Film Festival reviews? Click here to check out our collection of this year's highlights.
Yesterday - A new British comedy with a little help from The Beatles
TRENDINGWIN YESTERDAYA new British comedy with a little help from The Beatles
Yesterday - Great concept, disappointing execution
TRENDINGYESTERDAYGreat concept, disappointing execution
Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan - Close to home
TRENDINGDANGER CLOSE: THE BATTLE OF LONG TANClose to home
Toy Story 4 - Entertaining but thoroughly unnecessary
TRENDINGTOY STORY 4Entertaining but thoroughly unnecessary
Claire Darling - A French film fail
TRENDINGCLAIRE DARLINGA French film fail
The Final Quarter - Tackling a shameful chapter in AFL history
TRENDINGTHE FINAL QUARTERTackling a shameful chapter in AFL history
Standing Up For Sunny - A comedy without the comedy but very sweet
TRENDINGSTANDING UP FOR SUNNYA comedy without the comedy but very sweet
My Big Gay Italian Wedding - A ridiculously fun love story
TRENDINGMY BIG GAY ITALIAN WEDDINGA ridiculously fun love story
2040 - A hopeful look into our environmental future
TRENDING2040A hopeful look into our environmental future
Parasite - A bloodthirsty and very funny look at class warfare
TRENDINGPARASITEA bloodthirsty and very funny look at class warfare
Saturday Afternoon - A shocking and abrasive assessment of terrorism
TRENDINGSATURDAY AFTERNOONA shocking and abrasive assessment of terrorism
The Third Wife - Artistic, painful and beautiful
TRENDINGTHE THIRD WIFEArtistic, painful and beautiful
Kursk - When tragedy and bureaucracy collide
TRENDINGKURSKWhen tragedy and bureaucracy collide
Judy & Punch - A dark fairytale from a fresh Australian voice
TRENDINGJUDY & PUNCHA dark fairytale from a fresh Australian voice
The Nightingale - A blunt and brutal period piece
TRENDINGTHE NIGHTINGALEA blunt and brutal period piece
Blinded By The Light - The spiritual sequel to Bend It Like Beckham
TRENDINGBLINDED BY THE LIGHTThe spiritual sequel to Bend It Like Beckham
School of Seduction - Husband hunting in Russia
TRENDINGSCHOOL OF SEDUCTIONHusband hunting in Russia
The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir - An endearing tale of destiny
TRENDINGTHE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF THE FAKIRAn endearing tale of destiny
Back of the Net - Misses the net, and then some
TRENDINGBACK OF THE NETMisses the net, and then some
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
© 2011 - 2019 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us