Stan & Ollie Review
What’s It About?
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, once gods of the movie and comedy circuits, have now fallen down the pecking order, out of favour in Hollywood. In order to raise awareness, secure some much needed finance for a new project and to pay the bills, the pair go on a tour of the UK in the 1950s, but it doesn’t go according to plan.
Who’s In It?
Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge, Night At The Museum, & more recently Philomena)
John C Reilly (Step Brothers, Wreck It Ralph & more recently Holmes & Watson)
Other notables include:
Danny Huston (The Aviator, Wonder Woman, & more recently Game Night)
Shirley Henderson (Bridget Jones, Filth, & more recently Trainspotting 2)
Nina Arianda (Midnight In Paris, Hannibal, & more recently Florence Foster Jenkins)
Director: Jon S Baird (Cass, Filth)
Steve Coogan and John C Reilly give two remarkable performances as one of the greatest double acts in comedy history with their onscreen personas, where Coogan and Reilly deliver wonderful impersonations, but also off camera, where they shed light on these two fascinating men.
The film opens on the duo in their 1930s pomp, with an incredible tracking shot as they head chatting on a Hollywood lot about taking control of their contracts, to their marks on stage.
The story then shifts to 1950s Britain, where times are tough and Laurel & Hardy are no longer the box office item they once were. Forgotten by Hollywood, and to some degree the general public, they are on a tour of the music halls in the UK to raise awareness and some much needed funds to pay off alimony and gain finance for a new film – and truth be told, things are not going too well.
A hurtful split over contracts which saw Laurel walk away from the studio, but Hardy not, leaving both men struggling and resentment still bubbling under the surface, with both men too polite to address it. And this is where their wonderful wives step in, like voices from their conscience, stating things neither man would ever dare.
As the pair are put under increasing pressure to sell their tour to dwindling audiences, bitterness and health issues start to flare up.
Steve Coogan and John C Reilly are impeccable in their performances as the duo both on and off camera, in what must be career best performances for both of them. There is also strong support from Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda as their combative and outspoken wives.
A low-key bittersweet, but thoroughly compelling film, told with warmth and delivered with affection, Stan & Ollie is a charming and remarkable film which will no doubt lead you to the original material.
In A Nutshell:
A remarkable bittersweet tale, delivered with warmth, love & brilliance for both the material and characters.
The outstanding performances
Some of the classic routines re-enacted