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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.
All Critics (179)
| Top Critics (33)
| Fresh (162)
| Rotten (17)
This is a film that succeeds in holding all its elements in balance - and in doing so, arrives at a depth of feeling that isn't commonplace at all.
Plummer gives an excellent performance: watchful, sensitive, delicate and yet possessed of a survivor's impassive quality.
Throughout, Plummer is mesmerizing, his sunken eyes and gaunt face telling of the layers of hardships Charley is forced to endure.
"Lean on Pete" demands a different kind of attention from moviegoers. But the rewards are worth it.
The film is a showcase for a very promising young actor named Charlie Plummer. Lanky, sensitive but assured, Plummer gives his character, 15-year-old Charley, a sense of raw decency maintained through trying circumstances.
There is a disquieting sense that the director has fallen prey to the poetics of space at the expense of the lives within it.
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
A flawed triumph, emotionally resonant and terrifically acted even when it's biting off more than it can chew.
With Lean On Pete, the director shifts style, totally embracing American colors and practices without losing dramatic effectiveness.
Andrew Haigh's Lean on Pete is a social realist drama of the highest order.
The most unjustly forgotten film of 2018 was also one of its best.
Lean on Pete draws you in and denies you the chance to reach out for a desperate protective embrace of Charley. Haigh's unforgettable adaptation makes you bear witness to this fragile flame nursed through the unforgiving world.
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.
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.
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.
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