First, I would submit this as exhibit E proving that Dustin Hoffman is one of the greatest living actors. Second, I would submit this as exhibit HH proving that a great actor can only elevate a film so much.
An intriguing movie that has some of the most impressive use of sound editing I've ever seen/heard with Fosse masterfully weaving together stand-up monologues and interviews within the storyline. Hoffman is great as Lenny and Valerie Perrine does a good job as his wife. Well worth a watch.
This movie is all about Dustin Hoffman's performance as Lenny Bruce. The movie is really slow at times and takes too much time indulging itself in seemingly needless stuff. Also the detoriation of Bruce goes so fast that we barely get any character development whatsoever. I know it's based on real-life, but still I believe it could have been done better. If you're a fan of Hoffmann or Lenny Bruce, it's worth a watch, but it's not really really that great a movie compared to it's contemporaries.
Hoffman's bravura portrayal of the tortured, self-destructive, brilliantly inventive comic Lenny Bruce is enough of a reason to see this. The film uses material from Bruce's trials which are "performed" by Hoffman as part of his nightclub act.
On the surface, just another warts-and-all biopic, but its made with such creative flair and acted with such passion that it becomes irresistable. Bruce's legacy speaks for itself of course, and yet the movie still manages to seem invaluable. Surtees' beautiful black and white cinematography and the films showbiz trappings echoes 8½, but whereas that film was about survival, love, life and art, Lenny is a film of decay, misery, death and art. Guess which one I prefer.
Fosse's rhythmic directing, Bruce Surtees' rugged but aesthetic cinematography, Hoffman's performance, very good all around. I liked this movie, the character and the messages a little bit better than I ever liked Lenny Bruce's act, somehow.
There's a great little moment that is seemingly apropos of nothing where Hoffman soundlessly and happily runs down a hallway, jumps in the air, clicks his heels, struts and raps on a hotel door. Blink and you miss it. These little transient moments in Lenny are the ones I remember, whereas the meaty bits of the biopic are actually quite forgettable. To be honest, I'm not sure where that leaves the film in the end, so, um, I'll just give it a "65" and leave it at that.
At times moving, at others hilarious and ultimately very tragic, Lenny is, to put it simply, a beautiful film. This is now one of my favorite Dustin Hoffman performances and the black and white visual is simple stunning. This movie is criminally underseen.