Take 3: Lean on Pete Review

For the It’s a Young World: Teen Movie Blogathon, I didn’t want to talk about a typical “teen movie”. I have nothing against these types of films. But whenever I participate in a blogathon, I try to think outside the box while following the theme. So that’s why I decided to review Lean on Pete. In my Book Adaptation Tag post, I mentioned that when I saw All the Money in the World, Charlie Plummer’s acting performance impressed me. As I read reviews for this movie, some people mentioned a film called Lean on Pete when referencing Charlie’s acting credits. When I looked for reviews of this movie, however, I found very few of them. In fact, on WordPress alone, I was only able to find four Lean on Pete reviews. This was one of the reasons why I chose this movie for the blogathon. My other reason for choosing this movie was because Charlie Plummer was the lead actor in this production. Since he gave a great performance in All the Money in the World, I had a feeling that he would give a good acting performance in Lean on Pete. After I chose this movie to review, an interesting coincidence that I noticed was Charlie’s birthday just so happens to take place in the weekend after this blogathon! So, it seemed like the stars aligned in this review’s favor. But did it really though? Or did the stars fly right past this review, completely leaving it in the dust? The only way to find out is by reading my review of Lean on Pete!

Lean on Pete poster
Lean on Pete poster created by A24 and Curzon Artificial Eye. Image found at https://a24films.com/films/lean-on-pete.

Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: Though Lean on Pete had a smaller cast, every member of it did a good job portraying their characters! All of the actors and actresses displayed a sense of realism in their performance, making the movie feel like an engaging “slice of life” story. Every interaction between the characters had a good amount of on-screen chemistry. This added to the realism of their performances. But, just like All the Money in the World, Charlie Plummer stole the show! Charlie brings an emotional sincerity to his character, which is something that isn’t often found in cinema. This helped me, as an audience member, stay invested in what was happening to Charlie’s character in the movie.


  • The incorporation of scenery: What’s interesting about Lean on Pete is how scenery is incorporated into the film. Toward the beginning of the movie, Charlie is jogging throughout the neighborhood. Without the use of dialogue, this scene introduces the audience to the setting, as well as the scenery, where the story will begin. I’ve got to say that Lean on Pete is one of the most well-shot films I have ever seen! Some of the natural landscapes featured in this story were so beautiful, that the color palettes were shone really well on film! The scenery was appealing to the eye and presented an interesting element to the story.


  • A realistic look at equine sports: When it comes to the presentation of equine sports in film, it is, more often than not, shown through a glamorized, appealing, and an almost glorified lens. In Lean on Pete, the maintenance and preparation of horse racing is given a larger emphasis than the sport itself. This aspect of the story focuses on the employees associated with the sport, including how Charlie reacts to certain situations. It also highlights some of the heavier topics relating to the sport, such as the mistreatment of employees and the fate of race horses. Because this side of equine sports is rarely shown in movies, I found this creative choice to be very interesting.
It's a Young World Teen Movie Blogathon banner
It’s a Young World: Teen Movie Blogathon banner created by Robin from Pop Culture Reverie and Crystal from In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood. Image found at https://popculturereverie.wordpress.com/2019/02/17/announcing-the-its-a-young-world-teen-movie-blogathon/.

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • More scenery focused scenes than character focused scenes: While the scenery in this film was great to look at, it felt like this movie focused more on showcasing the background than the characters in the forefront. In fact, there were less scenes featuring dialogue than there were featuring scenery. There are many parts to a film, so primarily relying on just one aspect of it could cause the movie’s story-telling abilities to be ineffective. This imbalance of character and scenery focused scenes felt like there was more to be desired from the story.


  • A limited amount of character development: Because more scenes focused on the scenery than the characters, it seems like the character development was sacrificed. In Lean on Pete, there were interesting characters with interesting dynamics and stories. However, there was enough character development to keep the story going, but not enough to satisfy the audience. Whenever the character development seemed to be reaching an intriguing point in the story, the moment would get cut short with a scenery focused scene. This left me wanting more from this narrative.


  • The night-time scenes: Throughout Lean on Pete, there were a few scenes that took place during the night-time. Within these scenes, very little lighting was used. Because of this, it was difficult to see what was happening on-screen. Emotional situations took place in these scenes. But, since there was little lighting, I couldn’t really see the emotions and expressions of the characters in these moments. This seemed to undermine the emotional intensity contained within these scenes.
horse saddle - soft focus with film filter
Horse with saddle photo created by Topntp26 at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/stallion-black-equine-race-sky_1104246.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Topntp26 – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Lean on Pete made me feel the exact same way that Queen of the Damned did: it was a decent film that I liked for what it was, but it could have been a stronger film. This movie had merits that made the story interesting. But it also had flaws that held the movie back from being better than what it was. When I think about Lean on Pete, the biggest take-away for me is how you never really know someone unless you take the time to know and understand them. Throughout this story, Charlie’s character deals with several hardships. Because of how this narrative was presented, the audience is given an opportunity to get a glimpse into this character’s life. Another take-away from this movie is how kindness can make a difference. Even if the impact of that kind act only lasts 24 hours, it could still impact someone’s day and maybe even their life. These lessons are relatable to anyone who chooses to watch Lean on Pete.


Overall score: 7 out of 10


Have you seen Lean on Pete? What’s your favorite horse related movie? Share your thoughts in the comment section!


Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

5 thoughts on “Take 3: Lean on Pete Review

  1. I have a great appreciation for people who “think outside the box.” It’s great to discover new films from a blog-a-thon theme, or people who have a different perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The It’s a Young World Teen Movie Blogathon Is Finally Here! | Pop Culture Reverie

    1. You’re welcome! Thanks for reading my review, Robin! I agree with you about those scenes in All the Money in the World, as Charlie stole the show every time he appeared on screen. I haven’t seen International Velvet, so I’ll definitely have to check it out when I get the chance.


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