Lean on Pete

First Hit: A wonderfully acted film about a young boy having to raise himself. 

The sixteen-year-old Charley (Charlie Plummer) is a great kid. He takes care of himself and his father Ray (Travis Fimmel) who, although capable of working, is shown to imbibe in drinking and likes messing with women, married women as well.

What Charley depends on is that his father is there. His father also teaches him a view of life, which is homespun philosophy. There is one bit when he explains why waitresses are the best women in the world, that's true to his view of the world.

Charley's mother left him because she was great one moment and horrible and mean the next. During a drunken fight with his father, she left for good. His father paints his mother as bipolar.

Charley has not heard from is mother in nearly 8 years and he longs for her and finds solace and friendship with Del (Steve Buscemi) a horse trainer and one of his horses Lean on Pete. Del is in the downside of his career but he pays Charley well for doing work like walking Pete and cleaning out the stables.

Del's friend and part-time jockey Bonnie (Chloe Sevigny) also befriends Charley.

When Charley's dad dies because of a wound he receives from an irate husband, he becomes focused on finding his mother.

This story evolves more and Charley is put through some very difficult situations with Del, Bonnie, and Pete. But his focus is clear, he loved his dad, he wants to find his mother and he loves Lean on Pete.

The scenes of Charley and Del are wonderful. Del being crusty and set in his ways get softened a bit with Charley. Scenes of Ray and Charley were also both sweet and poignant. The pictures of the open land when Charley was walking to Wyoming were devine.

Plummer was fantastic. He's a great young actor and embodied the fear of his life falling apart and his will to survive in an amazing way.  Fimmel was strong as the father who took on the responsibility of raising his son alone and who wanted the freedom to live a single life. Buscemi was outstanding as the crusty difficult soft-hearted horse trainer. The scene where he tells Charley to get some eating manners was priceless. Sevigny was strong as the jockey who tried to teach Charley that horses cannot be pets. Steve Zahn does a nice turn as the homeless Silver. Andrew Haigh both wrote and directed this film with a fine hand at creating characters that made this film work.

Overall: There were heartbreaking scenes in this film that made me really pause and think about the multitude of ways people are raised.