LEAN ON PETE Review – If Wishes Were Horses

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LEAN ON PETE Review by Staci Layne Wilson

LEAN ON PETE ReviewThere’s an old proverb—and I do mean old; it originated from a 17th century nursery rhyme—that goes, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”  The adage implies that it is not enough to wish upon something, you have to take action if you want it to happen. It’s not always easy to take action when you’re a kid, and in the case of 15-year-old at-risk teen Charley Thompson (Charlie Plummer) in Lean On Pete, taking action is not always for the best.

When the young man acts impulsively—but with all the angst and passion of his misguided convictions—and steals a racehorse called Lean On Pete in order to save the beast from the glue factory, things spiral out of control in ways he didn’t predict. The action is set in America’s vast West, a place that can be as bleak and unforgiving as it was when the first wave of pioneers came to claim it.

We meet Charley shortly after he and his wayward father Ray (Travis Fimmel) have moved into a seedy bungalow in Portland. Each is hoping for a fresh start but of course it’s just another in a series of “fresh starts” and before long Ray’s errant ways land him in hot water. Meanwhile, Charley has gotten himself a job at the local indie racetrack. There he assists curmudgeonly trainer Del (Steve Buscemi) and jockey Bonnie (Chloë Sevigny) in the care of their one broken-down racehorse.

In a performance that’s reminiscent of River Phoenix, Plummer is sympathetic without ever steeping into sappy territory. He’s stoic but you can see the fragility trembling just beneath the surface. Folding the story into the broader context of the current economic crash, director Andrew Haigh (45 Years) has crafted one of the most mature and clear-eyed dramas of the year.

Lean On Pete is never preachy, but it’s hard-hitting… don’t expect a Hollywood ending. Do expect a coming-of age story that’s as haunting as it is uncompromising.

Rated R

1 Hour 22 Minutes

Get times and tickets at Fandango.com.

LEAN ON PETE Review by Staci Layne Wilson

If you like this LEAN ON PETE Review , let Staci know: @StaciWilson


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Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Layne Wilson is an accomplished writer / director / producer / film critic and the author the bestseller So L.A. - A Hollywood Memoir. Find her on StaciLayneWilson.com

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