A moving, somber, and occasionally brutal inversion of the Black Beauty narrative, Lean on Pete centers on Charley (Charlie Plummer), a neglected teenager who bounces around from home to home (and is occasionally homeless), meeting all sorts of adults along the way (Travis Fimmel, Steve Buscemi, Chloe Sevigny, and Steve Zahn among them). In other words, Charley is in Black Beauty’s position—he’s a vulnerable creature living at the whims of an occasionally cruel adult world. There is also a horse, of course: the title character, a low-rent beast on its last legs, being squeezed for a few more wins at bottom-of-the-run tracks by Buscemi’s unscrupulous trainer. Charley comes aboard as Pete’s caretaker, and encounters the first friend who has ever really listened to him (there is a gorgeous, almost experimental sequence of a desperate Charley and Pete traversing the wilderness, while Charley unspools a delirious, open-hearted monologue). Director Andrew Haigh (45 Years), adapting the Willy Vlautin novel, doesn’t squeeze any of this too hard, but keeps a quiet, respectful distance from the characters. Which means that when something dramatic happens—and there is one moment that made me gasp—it hits you all the harder.