STAN & OLLIE (PG)
D: Jon S. Baird
Sony/Entertainment One/BBC/Fable/Sonesta (Faye Ward)
W: Jeff Pope
DP: Laurie Rose
Ed: Úna Ni Dhonghaile & Billy Sneddon
Mus: Rolfe Kent
Steve Coogan (Stan Laurel), John C. Reilly (Oliver Hardy), Shirley Henderson (Lucille Hardy), Nina Arianda (Ida Kitaeva Laurel), Rufus Jones (Bernard Delfont), Danny Huston (Hal Roach)
I was lucky enough to have been selected to attend a test screening preview of Stan & Ollie over a year before its official release. Of course, that early cut of the film was without many post production elements, such as music, sound effects and many incomplete green screen backgrounds. Still, these cosmetic issues didn't really prevent me from enjoying the film, and it's all due to good acting performances and an engaging story.
With the aid of excellent makeup, Steve Coogan & John C. Reilly are incredibly convincing as Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, the comedy legends of a bygone era whose back catalogue of short films and movies is still as beloved by some in modern times as it was in their 1930's heyday.
This biographical film takes place during their British tour of 1953, where they stage their famous routines in front of dwindling crowds as they cling to their fame with hopes of a cinematic comeback when their tour concludes in London.
The style of the film doesn't really settle on one specific genre of drama or comedy, as it manages to be both serious and comedic, sombre and bittersweet, delightful and insightful, as it shows not only the duo as their bumbling, accident-prone on-screen counterparts, but their friendship behind the curtain, including the tetchy relationships with their wives.
The acting from the entire ensemble is excellent, and though it might not delve as much into Laurel & Hardy's slapstick as much as some would have liked, it has enough to serve a reminder of how great they were, and possibly introduce a new generation into their work.