Stan & Ollie (2018)

Stan & Ollie © Sony Pictures Classics. All Rights Reserved.
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Released:  Friday, December 28, 2018  
Length:  97 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Genre: Comedy, Drama/Suspense
Rating: Stan & Ollie is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of AmericaSome material may not be suitable for children.


Synopsis

Laurel & Hardy, one of the world's great comedy teams, set out on a variety hall tour of Britain in 1953. Diminished by age and with their golden era as the kings of Hollywood comedy now behind them, they face an uncertain future. As the charm and beauty of their performances shines through, they re-connect with their adoring fans. The tour becomes a hit, but Stan & Ollie can't quite shake the specter of Laurel and Hardy's past; the long-buried ghosts, coupled with Oliver's failing health, start to threaten their precious partnership. A portrait of the most tender and poignant of creative marriages, they are aware that they may be approaching their swan song, trying to rediscover just how much they mean to each other.

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Stan & Ollie Theatrical Review


Over the years the entertainment industry has given birth to some very beguilingly comedy duos. I'm sure you know some of them; they crop up every decade. Some disappear as quickly as they arrived, others leave behind them a vague memory, but a few brilliant ones leave behind an enduring legacy.

Unless you've lived under a rock somewhere, you'll know instantly when the "coo coo" music theme begins, you're about to laugh at the misadventures of the little thin guy with perfect timing who constantly messes things up for the long-suffering big hulking guy. The team of Laurel and Hardy were quite simply magical. Through over 100 films the on-screen relationship of these two beloved buffoons has brought audiences huge laughter and melted hearts with their innate pathos.

What no one ever saw though was the actual behind the scenes lives of the duo. The relationship that made up the hard work and long hours it took to make their antics look natural and hilarious.  This sweet, gentle true tale about them successfully addresses that relationship, not at the height of their fame, but rather at the end of it, and it's drawn to perfection by the inspired performances of Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly.

Here's The Storyline…

In 1953, Laurel (Coogan) and Hardy (Reilly) facing a fading future and problems of age and money are convinced to reconnect with their fans and entice a producer to make a new film, by touring variety halls in Britain. After a scary slow start, the show becomes a huge hit, however buried tensions threaten to destroy their life-long relationship.

With the support of their wives Lucille (Henderson) and Ida (Arianda), who aren't particularly fond of each other, the boys re-discover their love of performing, as well as for each other, eventually securing their place in the hearts of an adoring public

Director Jon S. Baird succeeded here in creating as genial and touching a portrait of these legendary comics as is humanly possible. My hat's off to him, he should be recognized for this work. However, as good as Baird is on this film, it pales in comparison to the amazing spot-on performances by Coogan and Reilly. Their seamless performances never for a moment betrayed the monumental effort it must have taken to bring their characters to totally believable life. The two actors weren't there, Stan and Ollie were. That's brilliance. 

Add to that some big laughs and some very touching moments and you have a very entertaining film that anyone can enjoy.

My take… This is a wonderful film filled with humor, joy, triumph, pain, and the glory of friendship. It deserves to be seen and enjoyed. Don't miss it.

Grade: B+

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