Classic of the Week: Lenny (1974)

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Lenny is a 1974 American biographical film about the life of controversial comedian Lenny Bruce, directed by Bob Fosse, starring Dustin Hoffman, Valerie Perrine and Jan Miner.

The film covers various parts of Bruce’s life from his prime to his arrests for obscene language and using nightclubs to let out his frustrations, to his addictions and his death.

Lenny Bruce, although he was extremely controversial, he ended up influencing other comedians. He was never afraid of ruffling feathers. Dustin Hoffman is outstanding as Bruce, the role seems tailored for him. He did the voice, mannerisms and jokes spot on. If you’ve seen the real Lenny, you’ll agree. Although he doesn’t look exactly like him, everything else Hoffman does makes up for it.

In this film, you learn about Lenny’s rise to fame, his troubles with authorities, his bankruptcy and his death. You also learn about his extreme addictions. All of this is portrayed fantastically. You see that Lenny was both loved and hated and was very troubled. You also learn about the custody battle of Lenny and his ex-wife Honey’s daughter Kitty.

Valerie Perrine is fabulous as Honey Bruce. You learn in the film about Honey and Lenny’s relationship, their divorce and her criminal history and time in jail. Although she didn’t look that much like the real Honey, her acting skills in this film make up for it. Jan Miner does a great job as Sally Marr, Lenny’s mother, a stand up comedian, dancer and actress.

Overall, this is an extraordinary film, one that definitely should be seen at least once in your life. Everything about it, apart from looks, is sensational. This is one of the greatest films I have ever seen. 18+ 5/5

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