Charley Thompson is a 15-year-old who has no stability in his life. He wants a home, food on the table and a high school he can attend for more than part of a year.

Ravishing and doleful in equal measure, Andrew Haigh’s (45 Years) fourth feature is a resplendent portrait of a lonely, neglected boy on a quest for home. While Haigh continues to make exciting, unexpected choices of material, Lean on Pete is adapted from Willy Vlautin’s acclaimed novel about a Huckleberry inn-esque journey across America’s sparse Northwest. It shares DNA with his last two features, skilfully making intimate emotional journeys epic, and the personal universal.

Charlier Plummer is soulfully good in the lead role, his talks to the horse providing a tender and insightful interior monologue. We knew it already, but Lean on Pete once again confirms Haigh’s versatility and cements his reputation as one of the great cinematic storytellers of his generation.


What reads on the surface like an archetypal tale of a boy and his horse becomes an affecting snapshot of the contemporary American underclass in Andrew Haigh's lovely, slow-burning drama, Lean on Pete.