One of our biggest regrets at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was missing out on a press screening of Lean on Pete, the new film by Andrew Haigh (director of the modern masterpiece Weekend and the similarly-excellent 45 Years).
It had one hell of a cast — Steve Buscemi and Chloe Sevigny amongst others — and looked to offer up an gorgeous and unsentimental story, similar to a rustic Charlotte’s Web. Gladly, it was picked up by the good folks at A24, who will be giving it a wide release next year, and today they released the first trailer for the film.
Haigh is one of the premiere English filmmakers working today, and it’s exciting to see him crossing the Atlantic for his new project. Of course, he already did some excellent work on HBO’s deeply underrated series Looking, but this is his first film set in the US, and it looks like he’s using the scenic vistas to his advantage. Plus, it helps that Lean on Pete looks to be the kind of deeply satisfying story that spans generational divides. In short, we can’t wait.
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.