Lean on Pete

Critics Consensus

Lean on Pete avoids mawkish melodrama, offering an empathetic yet clear-eyed portrayal of a young man at a crossroads that confirms Charley Plummer as a major talent.

91%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 184

73%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,438
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Movie Info

Fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson (Charlie Plummer) arrives in Portland, Oregon with his single father Ray (Travis Fimmel), both of them eager for a fresh start after a series of hard knocks. While Ray descends into personal turmoil, Charley finds acceptance and camaraderie at a local racetrack where he lands a job caring for an aging Quarter Horse named Lean On Pete. The horse's gruff owner Del Montgomery (Steve Buscemi) and his seasoned jockey Bonnie (Chloë Sevigny) help Charley fill the void of his father's absence-until he discovers that Pete is bound for slaughter, prompting him to take extreme measures to spare his new friend's life. Charley and Pete head out into the great unknown, embarking on an odyssey across the new American frontier in search of a loving aunt Charley hasn't seen in years. They experience adventure and heartbreak in equal measure, but never lose their irrepressible hope and resiliency as they pursue their dream of finding a place they can call home.

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Critic Reviews for Lean on Pete

All Critics (184) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (167) | Rotten (17)

  • Heartbreaking it is, but the story of Lean on Pete never fails to deliver truth, both moment by moment, and in its ultimate conclusion.

    October 17, 2019 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • Haigh excels at capturing day-to-day details which ensures the authenticity of his characters. And his trademark unsensationalistic approach strips away the dramatics to reveal something raw and real.

    October 17, 2019 | Full Review…
  • It is a remarkable film that reflects the director's ability to extract so much from a rather small story. [Full Review in Spanish]

    July 19, 2019 | Full Review…

    Mikel Zorrilla

    Espinof
    Top Critic
  • Lean on Pete is a five-year-old chestnut quarter horse with movie-star eyes that fit the bill since he moseys off with every scene he's in.

    July 7, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Though it may require some distance and a good pick-me-up afterwards, you will appreciate the way Lean on Pete subverts your expectations and feels authentic to the human experience.

    March 30, 2019 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
  • Charlie Plummer is tremendous in the lead role. A portrait of America in 2018 and a movie that really stayed with me for weeks after seeing it

    February 26, 2019 | Rating: 9.5/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Lean on Pete

  • Jan 25, 2019
    Steering away from any possible attempt at sentimentality, this is an always mature and down-to-earth coming-of-age drama that relies on an impressive performance by Charlie Plummer to tell us the heartbreaking hardships endured by a poor young man in an unforgiving country.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 10, 2018
    A story about a boy and a horse could easily become overly sentimental, but "Lean on Pete" doesn't go there. It's more unusual. More truthful. Director Andrew Haigh's ability to engage the viewer in these naturalistic settings and the way in which his actors, especially lead Charlie Plummer as well as Travis Fimmel, make us feel committed, not just invested, but committed to to this world and their journey is almost indescribable. "Lean on Pete" is both extremely cruel and unforgiving and kind and beautiful all at the same time. Like I said, it's truthful; even to the extent it utilizes Selena Gomez and R. Kelly songs in the most authentic ways they could be.
    Philip P Super Reviewer
  • Aug 03, 2018
    Haigh takes what could easily have been a saccharine and emotionally manipulative story and makes something more honest. This allows the movie to earn it's most powerful moments.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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