Director: Ron Scalpello
My Name is Lenny is a new film on Netflix based on a true story. Thus, we follow the life of Lenny McLean, one of Britain’s bare-knuckle fighters famous for his notorious aggressiveness and brutality.
However, the film does not project just the aggressive behaviour and fights. It also goes on to show that sometimes even though you want to stay out of trouble, problems tend to follow you due to your previous reputation. This is what, at one point, puts Lenny (Josh Helman) to the hospital with infection after he got stabbed with a knife. The stabbing happened after he tried to refuse to fight because he was training professionally and did not wish to do street fighting anymore. The doctors ask his wife for a permission to amputate his leg but she refuses saying he would not want to live like that. Miraculously, he survives and continues to fight.
But, the film is even more than this. The film also shows consequences of childhood abuse. Thus, we get to see that Lenny is guided in his fights by his younger version. In that, we see a scared little boy being abused by his stepfather who tortures and beats him, allegedly to make a man out of him. This is patriarchy at its best, and it very clearly shows that a system in which older men dominate and abuse younger men while all men dominate women does not work for anyone.
Because of abuse Lenny becomes notorious in his aggressiveness and fights anyone for any reason. When anger comes out we see little Lenny suffering and promising to himself he will be better off when he grows up. In other words, grown up Lenny is still trying to save himself from abuse and feel better about himself, and all because a patriarchal abuser was ‘making a man out of him’.
The film also has some funny elements and I had a good laugh a few times. In addition, it portrays England of the time very nicely with pub culture, neighbour relations and the way life was back then.
An interesting film, certainly worth watching.
Thank you for reading.