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If you like Laurel & Hardy, you really should see "Stan and Ollie"
smacgillivray-1129829 November 2018
I am an officer of the international Laurel & Hardy society Sons of the Desert, and I just attended a pre-release screening of the upcoming "Stan and Ollie."

Before the picture started I was thinking about older celebrity biographies that didn't work out ("The Buster Keaton Story," "The Eddie Cantor Story") and others that succeeded despite taking massive liberties with historical facts ("The Jolson Story," "The Buddy Holly Story"). Well, I thought, I'll keep an open mind and look at "Stan and Ollie" as a fictional, larger-than-life show.

Two words of advice, Laurel & Hardy fans: SEE IT.

The producers have taken extreme pains to set the scenes just so, with the decor, the props, the wardrobe, and the general atmosphere ringing true. The re-enactments of actual events are substantially accurate, but the screenwriter has juggled the chronology around for dramatic effect, so things don't happen in their actual order. The early scenes, for example, show the older Laurel & Hardy playing to small audiences in tiny theaters, and the final scenes show full houses in massive theaters -- in fact, the reverse was true, with the venues getting humbler as the years passed. At least one character is a composite of different people: Stan's self-effacing wife Ida is portrayed like one of his former wives, the strident Countess Illeana. The biggest dramatic liberty, seen in the "Stan and Ollie" trailers, has Stan and Babe arguing and battling. These scenes are well played and staged, but have no basis in fact. These scenes are more like the Martin & Lewis story, where the easygoing partner withstands the driven partner's moodiness and finally sounds off. The 97-minute feature should not be judged by these few inaccurate minutes.

We've all seen celebrity impersonations that are good, bad, or indifferent. I'm happy to report that Steve Coogan is outstanding as Stan Laurel, and John C. Reilly is astonishing as Oliver Hardy. The voices, the body language, the small gestures, the exaggerated "stage" personalities -- both actors are right on the money. This is no shallow, variety-show imitation. It's a surprisingly deep, heartfelt, and sincere portrayal of Laurel & Hardy, on stage and off.

"Stan and Ollie" opens in late December, and if you like Laurel & Hardy at all, have no fear -- you'll enjoy it. Will you recognize certain events in the story? Probably. Will you grin at the re-creations of the team's sketches? Almost certainly. But will you laugh your head off? No. This is an intimate story with only a few principals, and you might find yourself choked up more than once. Critics have called the relationship between the "Stan" and "Ollie" screen characters as the greatest love story of the movies. This new movie demonstrates it.

I hope Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly are both nominated for Academy Awards as "Best Actor" -- and I hope they both win.
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Another Nice Mess is Anything But
Stan16mm6 November 2018
(No Spoilers here)

When fans of the iconic team of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy think of them, it is primarily their work that came out of the Hal Roach Studios that comes to mind. Whether in films from the waning days of the silent film period or through their work in short subjects and features through the 1930's, their often hilarious predicaments have burned a definite series of images in the minds and hearts of fans for over ninety years.

In the new film directed by John S. Baird, viewers are treated to that era in time but only briefly. The story of "Stan & Ollie" concerns itself with the least documented period of their careers; their British Tour of 1953. By this time, "The Boys" are years removed from their halcyon days as the top comedians in motion pictures. Away from the cameras, Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy perform on the stage for fans who grew up with them and still love them.

"At the end of the day we could have tried to do exactly what they did", John C Reilly (Oliver Hardy) explained to Ross Owen who was one of the consultants on the film, "but I don't think it would've been as satisfying as what we've done which is provide a human glimpse at these two performers". I am happy to report that this is exactly what they've done.

As Laurel and Hardy, Coogan and Reilly are wonderful whether playing the men off the stage or when recreating genuine Laurel and Hardy routines. The vocal interpretations are excellent; at times you may forget when Ollie yells, it is really Reilly!

As Stan Laurel, Steve Coogan has the difficult task of going from Laurel, the creative craft-smith and business man to Stan, the thin half of the comedy duo. Stan Laurel who Dick Van Dyke once said that while the great comedians always showed their "technique", Laurel never showed his; you actually believe he is that guy.

Coogan's Laurel, an older, more weathered man is still as brilliant at coming up with material, going through the paces and rigors of his work behind the scenes yet when he is Stan on stage with Hardy, the transformation is deft and lovely. You can hardly imagine that this simple comedian is the brains behind the creating of their material.

For John C. Reilly, the moments are even more subtle. There are times during the ninety eight minutes we spend with them that you forget you are watching an actor portraying Hardy. The final years of Oliver's life were beset with illness, an image few of his fans got to see which makes this portrayal more intense and riveting. The prosthetic make up created by Mark Coulier is so well done, you will lose yourself in the performance and believe you are seeing Oliver Hardy four years before his passing.

Equally as captivating are the performances of Nina Arianda and Shirley Henderson as Ida Laurel and Lucille Hardy. These talented actresses worked so well together, at times it's as if we are seeing another comedy team, reminiscent of another Hal Roach duo, Anita Garvin and Marion Byron. Arianda was afforded the opportunity of hearing Ida's voice from a recording made by longtime Laurel and Hardy fan, George Mazzey; Henderson had many tapes of Lucille to work with. Both women convey the same love and protection for their respective spouses.

Rufus Jones, a self proclaimed lifelong fan of Laurel and Hardy (he was a member of The Sons Of The Desert) is Stan and Babe's producer of the tour, Bernard Delfont and he's a riot as the promoter who get The Boys to do things they may not want to do with the skill of a surgeon.

While the most ardent fans of the real Laurel and Hardy will notice certain aspects of the film that don't hold to actual events as they may or may not have occurred, writer Jeff Pope has been able to condense separate events and place them together, telling the story without making the film a three hour affair.

Chock full with references that harken back to some of the classic films Stan and Babe made, these "easter eggs" do not detract the casual viewer from the proceedings. In fact, this is the perfect introduction to new viewers who may wish to seek out the treasure chest that awaits them in the Laurel and Hardy canon.

Inspired by the book about the British touring years by A.J. Marriot, the film is a genuine love story. Filled with heart, it is the little told account of the final performing years of Stan and Ollie and the wives and fans who loved them unconditionally. For people who will come to this story as newbies, they will understand the friendship and caring these men had for each other. For those who watch as lifelong fans, bring your handkerchief because this is one love story with the happy ending we've wanted to know.
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A Fine Mess..? Not at all
kirklaird18 December 2018
I've just had the rare pleasure of watching a film that can be classed as truly remarkable at an Unlimited Cineworld screening. This will be a future classic with The Godfather Part 2, Raging Bull, Lincoln etc. John C Reilly IS Oliver Hardy. A possible awards contender? Most definitely. Steve Coogan I think is Stan Laurel's Love child. Both remarkable and thoroughly believable performances. Being a lifelong fan of Laurel & Hardy, this could quite easily be the two men themselves. I read another review mentioning the first 4 or 5 minute shot. Beautifully woven and assembled. As good as La La Land. If you like L&H, even if you don't, this film will surely make you smile and quite possibly cry too. I didn't.....honest..!
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Reilly should be nominated for an oscar
paulspencer-9039412 January 2019
Quick look at the production, 10 million. It has clearly gone on all the sets, all of which are wonderful. But lets start with the script. The film is well written, not a word out of place, with tone and theme about getting older and friendship hitting every mark. But it is the acting that raises the film. Both Coogan and Reilly have been underrated for years, Hollywood only likes comedic actors when they are hosting the show. Here they clearly love the subject they are dealing with, and hit every subtle mark with ease. I have to say that Reilly is just the better actor out of the two, if only because he works in a fat suit throughout the film. He is so good, you feel for him, and I hope he wins lots of awards for this. On a side note, my wife, who has not seen as many of the original Laurel and Hardy films as I have, had tears at the end.
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Laurel and Hardy are alive and well
deanok27 October 2018
I've been a massive Laurel and Hardy fan been since I was a kid....... and I've watched their films over and over again through the years so I am very familiar with how they talk ,move and dance... which makes Steve Coogan and John C Reillys' performance even more amazing. They 100% nail their performances.... Even if you haven't heard of Laurel and Hardy (where have you been ??) should still enjoy this for film as it's a great look behind the scenes of early hollywood and a really touching story.. I must stress this is a drama not a comedy film although there are some comic moments....( surprisingly a lot of the comedy comes from the boys wives who also were played to perfection ) Basically it's a Love Story between two good friends. Stan and Ollie... It's beautifully shot and hopefully it will bring L and H to a new generation of fans
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Their dances and bits plus their off screen lives
yonhope7 November 2018
This is the best new movie I have watched in years. John C. Reilly could easily be nominated for acting honors. The cinematography is beautiful, the sets are believable and the story seems to be an honest account of an interesting part of Stan and Ollie's lives. The best part of this movie is the opening four minute plus tracking scene. It is not quite as great as LaLaLand's tracking shot but still one of the all time best. Laurel and Hardy fans will love this movie. Hopefully it will make youngsters curious enough to watch some of their old movies. This movies uses some of my favorite scenes from Way Out West. Excellent movie.
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Stan & Ollie - A loveletter to Laurel & Hardy and the men behind the bowler hats.
greggt-0723014 November 2018

As a lifelong fan for Laurel & Hardy, when I first heard that a film was being made about their later years I was quite hesitant as I wanted them to be treated with the respect and admiration they deserve. As more news kept coming out for the film I became more and more optimistic. When it was announced that Jeff Pope was writing the film I knew that it was going to have some talent behind it. Jeff also wrote Philomena which is one of the best British films in recent years. Then came the news that Steve Coogan and John C Reilly had been cast as The Boys. I was overjoyed and couldn't wait for the film to be released so I could see the finished product. I was not disappointed.

I have been very lucky to see the film twice and I am still so happy with what has been done. I will start by getting the obvious out of the way, Coogan and Reilly have nailed it as Laurel & Hardy. Both have make up and prosthetics to make the challenge easier but you can see that a lot of research has been done by both men. The fact that they are both fans of Laurel & Hardy must have helped with their performances. Their performances are backed up by Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda as their wives. The scene with them on their own are just as entertaining as the scenes with Stan & Ollie.

The film has some great recreations of classic scenes and routines with careful attention to detail. I have a few issues with the film with certain scenes and events within the storyline but they are minimal and does not take the overall enjoyment of the film away.

In closing I would recommend this film to everyone, fan of Laurel & Hardy or not. This film is truly made with love and respect for Laurel & Hardy and it shows throughout this well made production. With excellent performances, great writing and excellent production values it is a love letter of a strong friendship between two legendary gentlemen. I would personally like to thank every member of the team who worked on this film for all their work, this Laurel & Hardy fan appreciates every bit of work done.

PS - I'm stalking the local cinema to get a copy of the poster which I want for my bedroom wall so fingers crossed lol
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Warm tribute to comedy legends
peterlewis-5993421 October 2018
This film had its world premiere in London tonight. First impressions. It's a warm tribute that is easy on the eye yet never tries to become anything more than an enjoyable reminder of a partnership that was much loved around the globe. Don't expect much drama yet be staggered by Coogan and Reilly who are magnificent. I loved the interplay of their wives, perhaps a surprising element. A tale of love and friendship. Not ground breaking but a sweet tale.
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Heart rendering beauty
lurpak12 January 2019
Steve Coogan has catapulted himself into a different class in this film, John C Riley, well you kind of expect and he never disappoints, solid and dependable. With such distinguished and recognisable cast, you kind of expect to see the familiar characters of the actors themselves playing parts that you cannot suspend disbelief. Clint Eastwood for example, you see a Clint Eastwood film, you have no idea who he's playing, it's just Clint Eastwood. But here, Steve Coogan disappears from the screen and becomes Stan Laurel, you are aware there are some slight physical appearance which make you know it's not quite right, but you are not seeing Steve Coogan, that's for sure. The film is engaging, enlightening into the real people that existed behind the alter egos of Laurel and Hardy, and is a beautiful dip into their personal relationship without portraying any dirty dark revelations that a sensationalist may be tempted to put into a film. Instead it remains for the most, a journey you take with the boys, and their struggle to remain relevant in a fast changing world after some not so good decisions in hindsight, and decisions which were presented well enough for you to subscribe to the reasoning of each possibility and probably make the same mistakes yourself. What im trying to say is that some films will present such bad career decisions as painfully obvious to the viewer, but this film left you taking both sides with equal validity.

But most of all, the film presents their deep and loving friendship. I wept, I wiped the tears and weaped some more. The kind of tear when you are simply moved by such genuine love. The film seemed to be over too quickly, I could've stayed another hour and half. Well done all concerned.

Now this, this is award winning stuff.
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When the laughter has to end.
bob-the-movie-man22 December 2018
The problem with any comedy double act is that if illness or death get in the way (think Dustin Gee and Les Dennis; or Morecambe and Wise) the wheels can come off for the other partner. "Stan and Ollie" tells the story of the comic duo starting in 1937 when they reached their peak of global popularity, albeit when Laurel was hardly on speaking terms with their long-term producer Hal Roach (Danny Huston).

As you might guess from this, the emotional direction for the film is downwards, but not necessarily in a totally depressing way. The film depicts the duo's tour of Laurel's native country (he was born in Lancashire) and this has its ups as well as its downs.

Not knowing their life story, this is one where when the trailer came on I shut my eyes and plugged my ears so as to avoid spoilers: as such I will say nothing further on the details of the plot.

My wife and I were reminiscing after seeing this flick about how our parents used to crack up over the film antics of Laurel and Hardy. And they were, in their own slapstick way, very funny indeed. The film manages to recreate (impecably) some of their more famous routines and parodies others: their travel trunk gallops to the bottom of the station steps, mimicking the famous scenes with a piano from 1932's "The Music Box". "Do we really need that trunk" Hardy deadpans to Laurel.

There are four star turns at the heart of the film and they are John C. Reilly as Ollie; Steve Coogan as Stan; Shirley Henderson (forever to be referenced as "Moaning Myrtle") as Ollie's wife Lucille and Nina Arianda (so memorable as the 'pointer outer' in the 'Emperor's New Clothes' segment of "Florence Foster Jenkins") as Stan's latest wife Ida.

Coogan and Reilly do an outstanding job of impersonating the comic duo. Both are simply brilliant, playing up to their public personas when visible but subtly delivering similar traits in private. Of the two, John C. Reilly's performance is the most memorable: he IS Oliver Hardy. Not taking too much away from the other performance, but there are a few times when Coogan poked through the illusion (like a Partridge sticking its head out from a Pear Tree you might say).

Henderson and Arianda also add tremendous heart to the drama, and Arianda's Ida in particular is hilarious. Also delivering a fabulous supporting role is Rufus Jones as the famous impressario Bernard Delfont: all smarm and Machiavellian chicanery that adds a different shape of comedy to the film.

Overall it's one of those pleasant and untaxing cinema experiences that older audiences in particular will really enjoy. However, the film's far from perfect in my view: the flash-forwards/flash-backs I felt made the story bitty and disjointed; and ultimately the life story of the duo doesn't have a huge depth of drama in it to amaze or excite, the way that 2004's "Beyond the Sea" (the biopic of Bobby Darin) did for example. But the film never gets boring or disappoints.

I'd like to say that the script by Jeff Pope ("Philomena") is historically accurate, but a look at the wikipedia entries for the pair show that it was far from that. Yes, the tours of the UK and Europe did happen, but over multiple years and the actual events in their lives are telescoped into a single trip for dramatic purposes. But I think the essence of the pair comes across nicely. Laurel's wikipedia entry records a nice death-bed scene that sums up the guy: "Minutes before his death, he told his nurse that he would not mind going skiing, and she replied that she was not aware that he was a skier. "I'm not," said Laurel, "I'd rather be doing that than this!" A few minutes later, the nurse looked in on him again and found that he had died quietly in his armchair."

"Stan and Ollie" has a few preview screenings before the New Year, but goes on UK general release on January 11th 2018. Recommended.

(For the full graphical review, check out One Mann's Movies on the web and Facebook. Thanks).
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Beautiful Madness
LeeMonde21 October 2018
I was fortunate enough to see the World Premiere of Stan and Ollie at the London Film Festival tonight and it will probably take a while to sink in how good this film really is.

The accuracy of the lead characters' quirky ways were perfectly portrayed by Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly and the supporting cast, notably Nina Arianda as Stan's Russian wife, should all take a bow.

Not actually sitting anywhere in the movie genre spectrum, Stan and Ollie will be remembered as one of those films that was really so good a depiction of real life characters that any other film maker trying to repeat this feat will only ever win second fiddle sympathy vote.

This is a love story of huge proportions and portrays that special, unique bond which has made this iconic duo the greatest comedy double act of all-time.

Superb, beautiful madness, I think.
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A great, beautiful film!
brianfreeze17 November 2018
I had the great privilege to see Stan & Ollie at the AFI Fest. I must state that I have been a huge Laurel & Hardy fan since I was a child. My love for their films, and for them personally, grew more as I became an adult.

Over my lifetime I have seen thousands of films, as film has been my passion in life, but for me personally this was the most satisfying experience I've ever had in the cinema. I have followed the production of this film from the very beginning so in watching it as an L & H fan, I could tell from the opening scene that this was going to be everything I had hoped it would be....and more! For those not familiar with the Boys, this is everything you want in a film.

It's greatness comes from all the elements combined. A great, witty, moving script that finds humor in daily situations away from their brilliant routines. I was surprised at how funny it was. Followed by expert direction and cinematography. And then there's the performances! Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly are flawless! You never doubt that they are the Boys. Not even for a millisecond! And the supporting performances of their wives and their tour promoter are equally flawless. Get ready for the Oscar nominations!

I was also fortunate to see it with a great audience. A 400 seat theater that was packed! The line to get in was long and encouraging and we all made it in! 400 people that love film and Laurel & Hardy. We all laughed, cried, and applauded!

Please seek this film out when it opens December 28th. You will not be disappointed! It's a great, beautiful valentine to these two angels of comedy.

Thankfully it's not a biopic, but a celebration of the beautiful love and friendship these two had.

Bravo to all involved and thank you from the bottom of my heart for 97 minutes of joy.
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Exceptional in many ways...though a tad depressing to me.
MartinHafer28 January 2019
I have long been a fan of Laurel & Hardy...ever since I was a kid and when they used to show their films a lot on television. Up until very recently when Turner Classic Movies began showing their films, several decades have passed since they were common on TV....and, sadly, a lot of folks probably have no idea who they were. The ticket girl at the theater I went to had absolutely no idea....which is so sad since the pair were geniuses in movies.

I mention this also because your feelings about the film no doubt will depend on your love of them and familiarity you have with their films. I have seen every existing film the team made (a couple movies, such as HATS OFF, have been lost over time) the impact of the film was greater on me than most. They managed to make Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly LOOK and act like the famous team....and we can owe this to amazing makeup and prosthetics, great acting and excellent direction. I have a hard time imagining them doing a better job in this area.

The film itself is not perfect however. My aunt went to see the film with me and she said she found some of the early portion confusing. It didn't confuse me and I knew all about the Hardy film "Zenobia" which they talk about here. Additionally, if you love the team, the story has some sad moments as well...such as seeing Hardy's health failing. But it also is a wonderful snapshot at the that lovers of old time comedy simply must see.
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A sweet and charming telling of Laurel & Hardy's twilight years
gortx14 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I was never a big fan of Laurel & Hardy. Sure, I had seen BABES IN TOYLAND and, of course, The Music Box (among other shorts). Didn't dislike them, but they never did create a large enough impact on me to investigate them further as opposed to Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd etc.. Fortunately, one of the most successful aspects of STAN & OLLIE is that you don't have to be a fan to enjoy it. While there are certainly special connections and subtle enjoyments to be had if you are, Jon Baird's movie doesn't use familiarity as a crutch. And, there aren't lots of loaded 'in jokes' that only members of the Sons of the Desert (a L&H fan group) will get. Jeff Pope's script plays just as well as a universal tale of artists in their twilight years. After a brief prologue set during their heyday, we find Stan (Steve Coogan) and Ollie (John C Reilly) on the road in England in the 1950s. Their career is on the downside and they are no longer playing in major theaters (nor full houses), nor staying at the best hotels. They have been promised that a comeback feature film about Robin Hood awaits them. The tour struggles lead us into a deeper understanding of the duo, and leads to one inescapable observation - while they were longtime collaborators, they were never intimate friends. Those personal schisms are only exacerbated once their spouses join them on the road. Shirley Henderson (Mrs. Hardy) and Nina Arianda (Mrs. Laurel) are just as different from each other as their spouses (the pair of actresses form their own terrific thespian duo). Still, out of all the conflict, Stan and Ollie have a deeper bond that ties them together beyond mere pleasantries - it's a genuine love story. A bond based on loyalty more than simple social graces. STAN & OLLIE is told in an, appropriately, old fashioned manner. Nothing groundbreaking stylistically and without the wink-wink modernism of so many bio-pics which often go out of their way to "prove" they are hipper than their subject. Coogan and Reilly create real magic on screen. While they may not be a perfect replica of the real duo, they still manage to make a believable team - not just on stage, but, in their friendship. STAN & OLLIE is a short and (bitter)sweet movie that is happy to just tell it's humble story (all of 97 minutes). But, it does it very well. A charmer.
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Brilliant Acting in a Moving Film
admcdonough28 January 2019
When I went to buy my ticket for this film, one of the theater employees asked what it was about (a young man around 20). When I replied Laurel and Hardy that drew a blank stare. I joked that if he were my age he'd know who they were. But it's a shame that younger people don't know who what was probably the greatest comedy duo of all time (certainly the best during their heyday) were. They've seen many entertainers who were influenced by them though. If you watch comedies, you can't help that. This isn't really a comedy though. There are some laughs to be sure, but this is mainly about their tour of Great Britain and Ireland when both men were in their 60's and suffering from serious health problems (although only Hardy's ailments are highlighted in the film, Stan Laurel had serious health problems in the years before the tour also). It is a moving and terrific film. Both Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly deserved Oscar nominations for this film, but neither received one to the shame of the Academy voters. Each gave a more moving and powerful performance than most if not all of the actors who received nominations. Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda are both terrific also as the wives. Rufus Jones is hysterical as the sleazy tour promoter and everyone else also delivers top notch performances. If you are a Laurel and Hardy fan this is of course essential viewing. But even if you're not and want to see some great acting, give this film a viewing.
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Great Film. Coogan and Reilly Incredible!
lsf-2766221 January 2019
I thought the film was fantastic. So many in-jokes and references to Laurel and Hardy films made it entirely enjoyable. However, as a young fan of Laurel and Hardy, I'd like to see more into their careers. It begins towards the end of their story, so I hope that this film does well enough to get the wheels in motion for a prequel of sorts. I'd love to see a film of how they came together and their rise to fame.

One thing can not be debated about this film though- Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly are incredible in their roles
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Surprisingly effective and poignant
tonio14 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I had reservations based on the trailer. Which, AFAIK, fabricates a major disagreement and resentment between the pair about Ollie appearing solo in Zenobia (1939), when Stan was out of contract with Roach. The film makers did that to give the film a narrative arc. Most "based on/inspired by real events" films make things up. They call it dramatic licence. I dislike it because invariably it's not necessary. History is usually dramatic enough on its own terms. Similarly here, the film didn't need this device and no doubt Stan and Ollie would be mortified at this aspect. There is so much in their real lives and careers to make a biopic on. For example, the highs with Roach, the lows of the Fox films. Then the downs and ups of the 1950s British tour this film focuses on. Or simply just the latter but without the fictional argument element. I nonetheless fully enjoyed the film. The leads are all well captured. And it's very poignant. Stan's wife is unmissable. The film is well worth seeing and hopefully it'll generate increased interest in Laurel and Hardy's films, which remain utterly timeless. The world will never see their like again.
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More than fine and a long way from a mess
TheLittleSongbird12 January 2019
Being very fond of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, comedy geniuses and their partnership was an iconic one (in their prime, late 20s-mid/late-30s, they were the funniest comedy duo), 'Stan and Ollie' for a while was one of my most anticipated films. Really like biographical-type films and if there was anybody who deserved a film about them or one period in their life it was Laurel and Hardy, with there being a lot to their lives, personalities and partnerships to work from.

Seeing it last night, 'Stan and Ollie', did not disappoint in any way. What was one of my most anticipated recent films became one of the best films seen in the cinema in a long time. Not many films recently had me laughing, crying and thinking and then coming out of the cinema with a smile on my face, made me feeling warm inside and holding back tears. It is the complete opposite of a mess and calling it fine isn't enough, this is referring to the common "another fine mess". It was very interesting too for the film to focus on one period (the close of their career and their farewell tour) with references to past work, instead of trying to cover their whole career, one that sees different sides to Laurel and Hardy's friendship relationship, with blessings and burdens, and to Laurel and Hardy themselves.

The film is beautifully made visually. Cannot fault the evocatively rendered period detail, that's sumptuous but the postwar gloominess hangs over, or the clean cinematography that is a loving complement to it. A standout in the case of the latter being the single tracking shot at the beginning where it was like the two brought to life, similarly the effective fixed frames where the interaction between Laurel and Hardy truly shines through. In this regard though, the star was the make-up/prosthetics used on John C Reilly as Hardy, you know the make up is good when it looks authentic and like time and care went into it as well as not being able to recognise the actor. Did not recognise John C Reilly and he did not look uncomfortable at all. Didn't even notice or realise that CGI was used to extend some of the locations, in a period where this aspect is overused, abused and distracting to see a film that uses it yet subtly and sparingly was refreshing and preferable actually to back projection (on a side note some of the later outings used back projection and did so poorly).

Rolfe Kent's score fits beautifully, full of whimsy and nostalgia and knowing when to be prominent and when to step back. Loved the use of "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine", and it's affectionately choreographed and performed. Could really tell that director Jon S. Baird had a lot of passion and adoration for the duo and story judging from the sincere directing style that balances comedy and pathos effortlessly when there are films that struggle badly in this.

Qualities that are balanced every bit as adeptly in the witty, poignant and thought-provoking script, the later emotional moments especially where you see how strained the relationship was later on which was sad in itself. The story also, with the recreation of the classic routines, sly and hilarious and also endearingly innocent, affectionately done and enormously entertaining, while the slapstick gags with the bell and the oversized trunk were a genius move. Much of it was truly affectionate and nostalgic and it is so obvious seeing what the duo's appeal was, their relationship having so many layers and any shifts to it never jarring or rushed and both the personalities are portrayed to perfection. Yet it is the later emotional moments that got to me, it broke me seeing Hardy in the state he was. The ending was both triumphant and moving and the end credits were a lovely touch and takes one back, newcomers to the duo will want to see their work after seeing this film.

No issues to be found with the casting here. There is terrific support from an amusing yet stern Nina Arianda, loyal Shirley Henderson (in one of her best performances) and haughty Rufus Jones, the contrast between the two wives in their interaction is well done. The stars, as it should be, are Laurel and Hardy themselves. Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly are both extraordinary, so much so one is convinced Laurel and Hardy had come to life right from the opening sequence. For me, Coogan has never been better, he is very funny, precise (he times the schtick brilliantly) and at times arrogant, his restraint absolutely captivating. Was even more impressed by Reilly, in so far career-best work too, perhaps he is ever so slightly too tall for Hardy but that is as if nit-picking but he nails Hardy's comic timing and personality, but he is also extremely moving in the latter stages and sometimes without saying much. The chemistry between the two really lifts the film to an even higher level, the wit, tension and pathos nailed individually and equally dead on in balance.

In conclusion, truly delightful. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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A wonderful movie but...
man-916-82903727 January 2019
It doesn't actually tell their true story. It portrays their relationship in 1953 totally in conflict with reality. So if you know the true history of their circumstances from 1937 to 1953, you'll be surprised at how it's portrayed in the movie. Having said that, Reilly and Coogan ARE Ollie and Stan. I don't think that anyone could have portrayed them more authentically. So ignore the fiction, and just enjoy them.
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It's not over till the fat man sings
Padreviews14 January 2019
This film surprised me - I was expecting comedy I got heart wrenching drama . The acting was superb, the friendship real - the raw gritty true love both pain and pleasure .

The story is about their swansong , and their resurgence in the early 1950s after their demise in 1937 it's a sad story though , don't go expecting comedy go expecting to be in tears .

There were times when I thought this film would be a 4/10 but the relatively short length of the film helped and the final quarter was so powerful that it made up for the shortcomings and negativity in the first three quarters .

It's not a feel good movie . But overall it was a good movie I'm glad I went to see it .

Pad.A 7/10
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Good, touching, humane , intense glimpse of the least known chapters of Laurel and Hardy's lives
svhot6 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
"Stan & Ollie" , which refers to the iconic comedian team of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, tells the story about mostly their British tour of 1950's. They performed on stage during this tour, which was many years after their peak days as comedians in motion pictures.

The director, John S. Baird, has interwoven and presented the least documented times of Laurel and Hardy. Everyone understands the thrill of riding high on success, but few people realize what happens when the career of actors reaches its lowest point. The director has attempted to present this experience very genuinely on screen. Therefore, the main theme of the movie is the fact that we must keep reminding ourselves that success and failure are part of everyone's life.
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If you cry at my funeral I'll never speak to you again
roberteburne13 January 2019
A story about friendship, characters, reflection and lamenting the past just became a movie which is magnificently made by wonderful acting and casting. It's a beautiful film which is endearing in it's touching explanation of enduring friendship and mournful of the end of an era. It's no slouch though... the story is pushed along with a good rhythm, fun and great direction. John C Reilly and Steve Coogan absolutely nail their performances to take the audience through a riveting, entertaining, charming and ultimately tear-jerking tale. As the credits roll you just think about the importance of not letting reticence and reservation get in the way of true friendship. No need to be an expert in 1930s double acts as the film warmly creates its characters making a very satisfying and hopefully award winning work.
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a warm tribute to comedic giants
ferguson-631 December 2018
Greetings again from the darkness. Any list of the all-time great comedic teams would surely include Laurel and Hardy at or near the top. Influenced by pioneers such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and The Marx Brothers, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy (the rotund one) rose to the top of the comedy world through their films and shorts produced by Hal Roach Studios during 1926-1941. In later years, we recognize the Laurel and Hardy influence in hugely popular acts such as Abbott & Costello and The Three Stooges. Director Jon S Baird (FILTH, 2013) and writer Joe Pope (PHILOMENA, 2013) deliver a warm tribute to the comedy giants by giving us a peek on stage and off.

The film kicks off in 1937 when the duo are the height of their popularity, and a wonderful extended opening take allows us to follow them as they make their way across the studio lot and onto the set of their latest film, WAY OUT WEST. Before filming the scene, they have a little dust up with studio owner Hal Roach (Danny Huston) over the money they are being paid per their contract. Stan thinks they deserve more, while Oliver, racked with debt from a stream of broken marriages, prefers to not rock the boat.

It's this early scene that acts as a precursor to the challenges we witness in the business partnership side of the duo. Imagine if the work of you and your business partner were on display for the world to judge. And how does friendship fit in? The film flashes forward to 1953 when the popularity of the comedic duo has faded. They find themselves on a United Kingdom tour arranged by smarmy booking agent Bernard Delfont (played well by Rufus Jones). The purpose of the tour is to convince a film producer to back their Robin Hood parody idea. The early gigs are very small music venues and the crowds are even smaller. But these are true pros, and soon Stan and Ollie hustle up their own growing audiences, and by the time their wives join them on the tour, they are filling the best venues.

As Lucille Hardy (Shirley Henderson) and Ida Laurel (Nina Arianda) make their appearance, we soon find ourselves with two comedy teams to watch. The chemistry between the ladies is so terrific, they could be the featured players in their own movie. Lucille is a strong and quiet former script girl who is quite protective of her Ollie, while the outspoken Ida is a former Russian dancer who, in her own way, is also protective of the gentlemen performers.

The suppressed resentment over the (much) earlier Roach negotiations finally boils over in a heart-wrenching scene. The grudges and feelings of betrayal are voiced - alongside Ollie's physical ailments. As they air their grievances, it cuts to the quick. Not long after, Ollie's heart condition finds the two mimicking their "hospital" skit in real life ... it's a show of ultimate friendship that can only be built through decades of working closely together.

John C Reilly plays Oliver Hardy (the American) and Steve Coogan is Stan Laurel (the Brit). Both are extraordinary in capturing the look and movements of the comic geniuses. Mr. Reilly and Mr. Coogan are such strong actors, that it's difficult to decide which segments are best. Is it the reenactments of some of Laurel and Hardy's iconic skits, or is the off-stage moments when they are dealing with the human side of these entertainment giants? Reilly benefits from excellent make-up and prosthetics (that chin!) and Coogan has the hair and determination needed for his role.

Director Baird's film is sweet and sad and funny. Stan and Ollie deserve this warm tribute, and it's a reminder of all the stress and hard work that performers put in so that the show looks "easy". This is what's meant by honing the craft ... even if it's "another fine mess" accompanied by the trademark "Dance of the Cuckoos" music. Let's hope the film attracts some youngsters who might gain an appreciation for the good ol' days of Classical Hollywood.
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A gem of a movie
neill-dunwoody-807-18179017 December 2018
To be honest I knew very little about Laurel and Hardy before seeing this movie, but from old clips and maybe then occasional reruns of their movies on tv in 80s when I was a kid, John C Reilly and Steve Coogan we're perfect for the roles. It's a great movie and beautifully shot with some heartfelt laughs. As for the ladies who played their wives you could easily give them a stand alone movie they were brilliant.
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A magical ode to comedy's greatest duo
isaacj0213 January 2019
Here, John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan star in a biopic as delightful and fuzzy as its subject, the legendary comedy duo, Laurel and Hardy. Jon S. Baird directs the film, which documents the lesser-known twilight years of the pair; Stan and Ollie, aging and fading from the public eye, embark on a tour of Britain in order to raise funds for a big (and almost too good to be true) movie break to bring them back in the limelight. The film being called Stan and Ollie is poetically appropriate; we are being given a wonderfully personal look at the men behind the celluloid. The end result is a movie that is simply irresistible. John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan star as the titular leads, in portrayals that are both uncanny and effortless. Reilly plays Hardy with a jovial honesty, his clumsy gait and trademark finger-twiddle completing a gorgeously authentic performance. The same is true of Coogan, whose portrayal of Stan Laurel is well-rounded and classically humorous. This film truly could not work without the two actors, who commit to their roles with ease in a partnership that seems as natural as Laurel and Hardy themselves. However, it is Rufus Jones' hilarious tour manager who hits the nail on the head, quipping that we get "two double acts for the price of one", when referring to Stan and Ollie's fiercely protective wives. Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda give the film another layer in humorous supporting performances as Lucille Hardy and Ida Laurel, with Arianda, in particular, being absolutely scene-stealing. Jeff Pope (who worked with Steve Coogan on Philomena) writes a sharp and versatile script; throughout the film, the lines are blurred between the on-screen personas of Stan and Ollie and their personal lives. This makes for results that are, as expected of this film, utterly hysterical, yet also comes with the difficult job of making sure the comedy and drama coincide comfortably. Stan and Ollie does this perfectly; while the film is certainly an irreverent and nostalgic comedy, what allows it to truly work is the emotional edge that acts almost like a tonic, cutting through the slapstick. The film never strains for laughs and the same is true of its approach to its more serious side, lending an emotional weight to the fun ("You loved Laurel and Hardy", Stan snaps, "but you never loved me"). The whole package is wrapped up nicely with Rolfe Kent's jubilant score and Laurie Rose's cinematography, full of marvellous continuous shots (the opening prologue on the set of Way Out West particularly stands out). Some may argue that Stan and Ollie is sweet to the point of saccharine, but I disagree; it's a charming film that's filled to the brim with joy and heart. In times where, perhaps, the negative seems to stand out, this is a breath of fresh air that reminds us of the importance of love and laughter in a quaint and purely magical way.
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