SXSW 2018: Lean on Pete

Charlie Plummer. Photo by Scott Green/Courtesy of A24.

Based on the novel by Willy Vlautin, film festival favorite Lean on Pete tells the poignant story of of a teenage boy and his strong connection to a horse.

Charley Thompson (Charlie Plummer) hasn’t had an easy life living with his father Ray (Travis Fimmel).  Charley’s mom is out of the picture and looking for meaning in his life, he turns to the Portland Downs racetrack where he meets Del Montgomery (Steve Buscemi) and jockey Bonnie (Chloë Sevigny).  Working with these two, Charley develops a strong emotional bond with a Quarter Horse, Lean on Pete.

It has that kind of vibe going for it.  Haigh’s script and Magnus Joenck’s cinematography keep the focus framed entirely on Charley.  While in the desert, Joenck is able to capture the scenery so beautifully.  Plummer was a virtual unknown until breaking out in Ridley Scott’s All The Money in The World in December.  Plummer brings so much emotion into his role as Charley that one can’t help but sympathize for his situation.

An homage to the works of John Steinbeck, Lean on Pete is full of so many themes that will drive the emotions home so it wouldn’t be unwise to have a Kleenex handy.

DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER:  Andrew Haigh
CAST:  Charlie Plummer, Chloë Sevigny, Justin Rain, Lewis Pullman, Steve Zahn, Alison Elliott, with Travis Fimmel and Steve Buscemi.

Having premiered at the 2017 Venice and Telluride Film Festivals, A24’s Lean on Pete will screen as a part of the 2018 SXSW Film Festival‘s Festival Favorites Program.  A24 will release the film on April 6 (NY & LA) with theatrical expansions to follow on April 13, and April 20.  The film is expected to go wide on April 27.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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