Critic's Choice: Andrew Haigh's 'Lean on Pete' is a piercingly sad coming-of-age tale

Adapted from a novel by Willy Vlautin, “Lean on Pete” tells a crushingly sad story of poverty and despair, centered on a teenage boy named Charley (Charlie Plummer), the racehorse he falls in love with and the long road they wind up taking toward an uncertain future. The perils that befall them along the way are at times almost too much to bear, but the cruelty of this journey is checked at every step by the bracing force of Haigh’s compassion.