Lean on Pete is a charming film about a fifteen year old boy who’s living a ‘trailer trash’ life. His father is a feckless, irresponsible man who’s fallen out with Charlie’s (Yes! Charlie Plummer and the principal character are both called Charlie) auntie. She was the one stable element in Charlie’s life and abandoned Charlie to his father’s care.
Charlie goes for early morning runs and has a strong work ethic. He joins up with a failed horse trainer, Des Montgomery (Steve Buscemi). Charlie quickly shows that he isn’t afraid of horses or hard work. Des is a dodger and diver and uses underhand tricks to get his horses to win races in very poor races. He then sells the horses on to Mexican abattoirs. Charlie is still young enough to care about horses and his horse Lean on Pete is due to be slaughtered and so Charlie rescues him.
The American fondness for up-beat endings kicks in and, for me, spoils a terrific film. Charlie decides to take Lean on Pete to his aunties house in Wyoming, which is nearly a 1000 miles away from Spokane. Without a compass & with a road map he gets part way in his truck and walks the remainder. Needless to relate Charlie get there and is greeted like the prodigal son. Charlie’s turns into a poster boy for Rugged Individualism and the American Way.
Why you should watch this film: Charlie Plummer is superb
Why you shouldn’t watch this film: An implausible end ruins it
For an alternative review go to https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/lean_on_pete/