The true story of the rise and fall of iconic
stand-up comedy pioneer Lenny Bruce.
Directed by Bob Fosse
Written by Julian Barry
Starring Dustin Hoffman, Valerie Perrine, Jan Miner
Based on the stage play by Julian Barry
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman), Best Supporting Actress (Valerie Perrine), Best Director,
Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography
Every time I watch Dustin Hoffman at work, I gain a deeper understanding of his stature amongst his Hollywood peers, especially after watching him shred the screen up in Lenny. Bob Fosse’s brilliant black and white biopic was nominated for six Oscars at the 47th Academy Awards. I adore the 70’s and how audacious some of the films were during that decade.
Lenny Bruce was a real-life stand-up comedian who had a run from the late 40’s to the late 60’s that is certainly one of the most influential stand-up runs ever. This film captures his initial burst onto the scene, his obscenity arrests, and his drug addictions as well as his cult-like status as one of the most verbally tenacious comedians to ever live. Lenny also covers his relationship with his wife of six years, Honey Bruce, who also had her fair share of struggles with substances.
Lenny uses the back and forth formula as it bounces around Lenny Bruce’s wild career and personal life. I didn’t know too much about the comedian in real life, but this film caused me to read up on him for an afternoon. Dustin Hoffman captures Lenny’s chaotic antics extremely well and while his style of comedy isn’t for everyone, the film is a must see for cinephiles as it truly stacks up against its fellow nominees (The Godfather: Part II, Chinatown, The Conversation, and The Towering Inferno) from the 47th Academy Awards.