What's it About
This raw, astonishing biopic traces the troubled life and career of comic genius Lenny Bruce, from his humble beginnings in tumbledown clubs, to a largely underground fame filled with controversy, and eventual flameout amid heroin abuse and ongoing legal harassment. Hoffman recreates both the raunchy originality and honesty of Bruce's stand-up routines, and a tragic sense of the man himself.
Why we love it
Hoffman fully inhabits the tortured genius of Lenny Bruce, a performer whose scathingly funny routines seem fairly tame by today’s standards, but which, in the proper, conforming fifties and early sixties, offended the establishment sufficiently to prompt multiple arrests for obscenity. Valerie Perrine delivers vivid support as Bruce’s cheesy stripper wife, Honey, as much a victim of the times and drugs as Bruce himself. “Lenny” is a rare non-musical triumph for director Fosse, who was Oscar-nominated, along with Hoffman and Perrine. This gritty picture still packs a wallop.