Review of 'Stan & Ollie'

stan_and_ollie.jpg Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (John C. Reilly) or simply “Laurel and Hardy” are considered to be one of the greatest comedy duos of all time. “Stan & Ollie” tells the true story of the pair's ultimately successful tour of post-war Britain long after their hay-day. We see the two strung along by a smooth talking agent who books them into small out-of-the-way venues and cheap hotels where, initially, the reception is lukewarm but with their hard work at promotion they manage to turn things around with the tour being incredibly successful and ending in a long run at the London Lyceum theatre. There is also a film that Stan continues to work on with his partner but which increasingly becomes apparent will never happen. Hardy is suffering physically, overweight and unable to keep up with the pace set by Laurel. He also still harbours resentment over certain events from their past where Stan once worked without his partner culminating in a very public argument in London.

“Stan & Ollie” is a bittersweet story of love and companionship which really strikes a cord. The performances by Coogan and Reilly are absolutely incredible and have been rightly lauded. Despite their physical appearances not quite matching the original they manage to perfectly capture the characters we know and love with their mannerisms, humour, timing and whit. It is all spot on. At the same time they really convince as they convey the emotions Stan & Ollie must have been going through. The supporting cast of the film are tremendous as well with Shirley Henderson as stuffy and more laid-back Lucille Hardy (wife of Ollie) and Nina Arianda as Ida Kitaeva Laurel (wife of Stan). Their mannerisms easily convey they know their husbands, and each other, very well.

Despite the heavy nature of the material in the end this is a wonderful drama telling the story of two of our best-loved comedians living with their fame and the fate that life dealt them. Uplifting and heartwarming.

Rating: “I have absolutely no complaints”

Review Date: 2019-03-02

Directed by: Jon S. Baird

Studio: Entertainment One

Year: 2018

Length: 98 minutes

Genre: Melodrama