Photo via variety.com.

5/5 Stars

Netflix has released a new coming-of-age drama that showcases the story of the Fletcher Street Stables of Philadelphia. Based on the novel “Ghetto Cowboy” by Gregory Neri, “Concrete Cowboy” follows a tight-knit community of horse riders as they reconcile with encroaching gentrification.

Released on April 2, 2021, “Concrete Cowboy” has a run time of 1 hour and 51 minutes. 

Starring Screen Actors Guild Award winner Caleb McLaughlin and five-time Emmy nominee Idris Elba, the cast of “Concrete Cowboy” is undoubtedly a strength. Supporting actors include Lorraine Toussaint as Nessie, Wu-Tang Clan’s Method Man as Leroy, Jharrel Jerome as Smush and Jamil Prattis as Paris. McLaughlin and Elba are well-known for their roles in “Stranger Things” and “The Wire,” respectively.

The story follows Cole (McLaughlin), a 15-year-old troubled teen from Detroit, who finds himself expelled from school after again getting into trouble at school, with his mother at her breaking point. The next thing you know, his bags are packed and he’s been dropped off at his father’s place in Philadelphia for the summer without even a goodbye from his mother. With his father Harp (Elba) a virtual stranger, Cole’s behavior continues to spiral out of control. Cole spends most evenings participating in drug deals with his not-so-influential friend Smush. Harp, a member of the Fletcher Street Stables, manages to incorporate Cole into his tight-knit community of urban cowboys and cowgirls, making a difference in his life, even at his lowest points. The stables, new friends and his new horse, Boo, giave Cole a community and something to believe in despite the looming danger that the community faces by urban development.

“Concrete Cowboy” is a heartfelt tear-jerker, as it highlights the plight of the real-life Fletcher Street Stables. Although Cole’s story isn’t a true one, the hardships and gentrification the Fletcher Street Stables community faced is. This film raises awareness on how gentrification can be overlooked as many people are unaware that it is even happening.

The setting of this film was incredibly immersive. From Harp’s home to the street he lives on to the stables, the poverty they live in is portrayed in a way that is raw and tangible. Viewers can see just how much this community of people love their horses and culture, as they are willing to live in these poor conditions just to afford to take care of them and make sure that their history is never lost or forgotten.

“Concrete Cowboy” is an inspiring film that encourages viewers to see the potential for happiness around you and find life’s bright side, even when you think there isn’t one.