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Lean on Pete

Charley (Charlie Plummer) has moved to Oregon with his father who hopes to start a new life. Charley finds a job working for a racehorse owner Del (played by Steve Buscemi) and his jockey Bonnie (played by Chloe Sevigny); there, Charley develops a friendship with one of the horses, Lean on Pete. When events turn for his father and Del says he is going to sell Pete because he can no longer win, Charley and Pete set off on a journey to find an aunt who was nice to him when he was a little boy. The journey makes for a very beautiful story during which we learn more about Charley and his experiences as a homeless adolescent. This film belongs to Charlie Plummer. He is an exceptional young actor who infuses his character with intense depth, independence, and vulnerability. His acting ensures the film never gets overly sentimental but stays believable. My only quibble was that the film was a bit long in the beginning – it really takes off once Charley and Pete set off on their journey. Big thumbs up from me for a great story and a singularly great performance. I am a fan of this director’s work – previous films include “45 Years” and “Weekend” – and his ability to capture the essential goodness of people even in the toughest situations. This film I think will appeal to many, particularly to those who like coming of age films and to horse lovers. And Charlie Plummer, who is just 18 years old, is one of the newest actors we should watch.

About Gary Burkholder

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