Stan & Ollie takes an honest look at the relationship between the two movie greats and their wives. The main focus is on the final years of their career. After years of being the biggest names in cinema, they find themselves needing to kickstart their brand. So in 1953, set out on a tour of the UK quite tragically to start with. However, their grueling self-promotion pays off, resulting in sell-out shows at the Lyceum Theatre. But this hard schedule pushes them beyond their physical and emotional boundaries.
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are easily the biggest comedy duo ever. With a career lasting over thirty years, the pair appeared in one hundred and seven movies. Gifted with natural slapstick humor, incredible timing and perfect comedy chemistry. Their iconic bowler hats and the cuckoo song will always be recognized, firmly stamping their brand into the cinematic hall of fame.
It's fair to say, that biopic films about true legends of cinema can fall flat on their face. The public perception of their idols can be quite precious. So casting someone to play a person who is loved by so many is fraught with danger. However, this is where Stan & Ollie really delivers, the key roles are played to perfection. Steve Coogan is outstanding in his portrayal of Stan Laurel. Not only does he look like him and have the comedy ability to perform the famous sketches. But he also gives a wonderfully heartfelt acting performance too. John C. Reilly is amazing as Oliver Hardy, truly connecting with his character and working some real magic to re-create the legend. The big standout comes from the stellar performances by Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda who played the wives of the comedy duo.
Scottish Director Jon S. Baird does a good job piecing the film together. For me, the early part of the film seemed a little disjointed in particular when Stan & Ollie arrive in the UK. But as the film progresses, the flow of the film gathers pace and the audience gets much closer to the characters. It's often said that a film is only as good as its script. And it's fair to say that Jeff Pope has done and a fantastic job here.
Stan and Ollie succeeds in taking the audience back to a forgotten era. Creating a film that will work for the whole family. Even if you have never heard of them, this film is more about the humanistic realities of strong friends facing the truths of their past. The end result is a beautiful heartfelt, loving portrayal of the wonderful gift given to the world from two amazingly talented humans.
Overall, Stan & Ollie is a brilliantly delivered film that is packed, full of love. It is a fitting tribute to two true legends and should make sure that a whole new generation can be gifted with laughter. If you are looking for a true feel-good movie, then look no further than Stan & Ollie – now available to watch on Amazon Prime.
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