The ads sell it as a treacly boy-and-his-horse story, which it is, up to a point. It's also the new Andrew Haigh film, and his eye for character is on display even while his sense of drama gets as lost in the American West as his hero. Haigh's odyssey feels smaller than his two-handers, and though it nobly strives to show the US as a place where innocence dies and gets reborn, the pace trots, the contrivances nag.
Digital. It's not an act of politicization like "The Electric Horseman" or narrative lyricism, like Carroll Ballard's stupidly forgotten "The Black Stallion." It's "only" the most solid entry of recent cinema into a classic narrative, with a profoundly fair look at a character who is accompanied without contemplations and much dedication - despite some spurious focus variations. Extraordinary Charlie Plummer.
Andrew Haigh deserves a lot of credit. A film as tenderly acted and remarkably natural as "Lean on Pete" can't be forced, and Haigh encases an emotionally honest story in a film unafraid to be both beautiful and horrifically ugly. Charlie Plummer is a true find of an actor, and he's surrounded by veterans that elevate the picture itself but never undermine his authentic performance. Solid stuff.
Fantastic! A beautifully crafted and unapologetic character study of a young boy forced into adulthood. Charlie Plummer out acts everyone in this film and brings a stunning warmth and humanity to the plight of homelessness. Highly recommended. 4.5 stars