Stan & Ollie (2018) Poster

(2018)

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8/10
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)....so 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 boys...one that lovers of old time comedy simply must see.
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10/10
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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8/10
The last tour
bkoganbing22 February 2019
I was really bowled over by this film Stan & Ollie. Steve Coogan as Laurel and John C. Reilly as Hardy were so dead on in their performances. I really thought I was looking at the real Stan & Ollie off screen in private moments.

With a couple of flashbacks to the late 30s the film was a story of both Laurel and Hardy in their last days. Said last days consisted of a tour in the British Isles and a promise of yet another feature film shot in the United Kingdom and it would have been a Robin Hood kind of satire with Ollie as one obvious choice as Friar Tuck.

Things don't go as planned and Hardy's health is giving out. Ironically it was Stan who had the health problems before. They had made a film Bullfighters in 1945 and then Laurel had issues that kept him off the screen for 7 years. Ollie in that time did appearances with John Wayne in The Fighting Kentuckian in a sidekick role and as one of many comic actors in a memorable bit in Frank Capra's Riding High. The two did Utopia in 1952 and it was a bomb.

The film emphasizes and it's important to remember than neither of them owned any of their films. They made millions for producer Hal Roach yet it was only a straight salary they were paid. Laurel had been married multiple times and Hardy had a gambling problem.

So the guys are in Great Britain on tour because they need the money and hope to do one more film where they would share in the profits and have a more than comfortable old age. Sadly it doesn't work out that way. This film will tell you why.

What I liked best about Stan & Ollie is the chemistry between Coogan and Reilly in their characters. Newer comedy teams like Abbott&Costello and Martin&Lewis were in their prime just as Stan & Ollie were going into decline, but they had their well publicized spats and eventual breakups. These two guys never had those kind of incidents.

It was also nice to see Nina Arianda and Shirley Henderson as the last wives of the boys and the relationship of the four. Laurel was married 5 times and Hardy thrice. Wives and former wives were also an expensive proposition.

I think all Laurel and Hardy fans should see Stan & Ollie. And if you see this film make sure you acquaint yourself with their comic genius.
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6/10
Somewhat artificial, but its heart's in the right place
Leofwine_draca12 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
STAN & OLLIE is the latest biopic looking at the two most famous film comedians in history. As a massive Laurel & Hardy fan I was interested in seeing this, and for the most part it does a good job of portraying what the duo must have been like in their real lives. After a brief opening introduction featuring the couple during their '30s-era glory days, we move into a tired and haggard 1950s world, with Stan & Ollie touring crumbling British theatres to relive their former glory.

John C. Reilly couldn't look more like Hardy if he tried, while Coogan has all the tics, tricks and mannerisms down to a tee. The story is loaded with sentimentality and it seems to me that conflict between the duo is clumsily shoehorned into the narrative just so it can exist, but the bittersweet tragedy that seeps in towards the end is a step in the right direction.
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8/10
beautiful
SnoopyStyle20 October 2019
In 1937, Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (John C. Reilly) are a successful comedy duo at the height of their popularity. They were brought together by producer Hal Roach who has gotten rich off their films. Stan is chaffing at Hal's control but Oliver just wants a small raise to pay for his gambling and his ex-wives. Sixteen years later, Stan and Oliver are doing a theatrical tour of Britain culminating in a Robin Hood movie of their own. The small theaters are mostly empty and everybody thinks that they're retired. Their complicated history resurfaces and the two professional friends' relationship is tested.

There is a realism in the relationship that rings the echoes of truth. I'm a fan of the idea of Laurel and Hardy more than their movies. They have a nice simple touch. They're sweet together. Their vaudevillian act is great. In this film, one gets a sense of these characters and their connection. They're like an old married couple, full of memories and complex history. They love each other above all their troubles. Their act is still fun if a little slow. The double door act is funny and the last performance is heart-wrenching. This is poignant, melancholy, and beautiful.
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a gift
Kirpianuscus29 March 2019
I expected to see it , with emotion, curiosity and a sort of reserve. Because its subject, for generations, is not only familiar but solide part of their past. And all the reserves falls. Because it is an impecable film, from performances to the bitter story. A film about real friendship, tender, precise, touching, cold and useful. It is part of any genre. Because it is just the desired story about two special heroes. All is beautiful. And moving. And great. Because, for the admirable performances of John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan, for the great job of Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda, the film becomes, scene by scene, so powerful and seductive changing everything around it.
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6/10
More of a character/relationship study than a tribute to old movies, but does work well Warning: Spoilers
"Stan & Ollie" is a British/Canadian/American co-production from 2018 that managed a decent amount of awards recognition. This was directed by Jon S. Baird who is among the rising filmmakers from the UK these days, especially if we restrict it to Scotland. The script is an adaptation of a book and the screenwriter in charge is Oscar nominee Jeff Pope and his Academy Award nomination stems from the film Philomena that he co-wrote with Steve Coogan. Coogan is not a writer here, but one of the two lead actors playing a title character. What can I say about Coogan? I've become quite a fan of him in recent years honestly and he has produced some true greatness. I already mentioned Philomena, one of my favorite films from the year, but there are other high-quality films too, some of them going way too much under the radar. But now back to this one here: Of course the two men in the title here are Laurel and Hardy, the movie superstars from the first half of the 20th century. They managed the successful transition from silent films to sound films unlike so many others and honestly I am pretty surprised that they have not gotten a very famous film yet in which they were the center of the story. Until now that is. Oh well, I guess you can say the same about Lloyd, Keaton and Arbuckle with most people thinking about Chaplin when it comes to this era and of course there is Robert Downey jr.'s Chaplin performance that is pretty old now already too, but still fairly famous.

Anyway, Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly show up as the probably most successful duo in comedy history. I already said a bit about Coogan, but now as for Reilly, it is fairly amazing how in the last cinema year he was no less than three times one half of a famous duo. In addition to this one, he played Watson next to Will Ferrell's Sherlock and one of the Sisters Brothers next to Joaquin Phoenix. And he always holds his own pretty well. This is also true about this movie we have here. I think all in all, I liked Coogan more but that is because of how great he was and not because of Reilly being weak or anything. I would also like to emphasize the great make-up (and costume work). I think they had probably an easier time with Reilly because he resembles Hardy quite a bit, but still amazing work. Turning Coogan into Laurel was maybe the tougher job overall because the two do not really resemble each other that well. Still, it turned out most amazing, which also had to do with Coogan's portrayal. I swear these face expressions looked like Laurel 1:1 honestly. Baffling what he did with his "Mimik" as we say here in Germany. If you have seen anything from Stan and Ollie's original works, then you will find these moments right away and probably be as impressed as I was.

This film is not really about the peak of the duo. There is a quick introduction on when they were huge stars, but also from the end of it already when Laurel gets sacked by Hal Roach (always fun to see Huston). But before the 15-minute mark, the film moves forward for 15 years or so and the glamour is gone. The two are still working despite many people not knowing them anymore and others thinking they were retired. However, they are basically in oblivion in America and hardly anybody wants to see them anymore. But then they go on a tour together through Britain where many people still remember them fondly, even if they cannot even fill smaller theaters anymore either. But this changes pretty much out of nowhere (and this is a negative criticism) when all of a sudden people want to see them again and they fill bigger theaters of 2,000 seats. I was happy for the two. But still, this does not mean at all the conflict and drama is gone. Hardy is struggling with his injured knee, gambling addiction and eventually also heart struggles (cardiac I mean, not romance). Laurel has his own less severe health struggles that keep him from drinking alcohol and apart from that he is not as liked by his peers as Hardy (does he care?) and in addition he finds out that a planned Robin Hood movie won't come into existence because the financing was not successful. Many struggles here for everybody involved.

We do not only learn about the two stars, but also about their significant others, who may not be the very best friends, even if the final touch on the hand was really sweet and nice closure. This film has many special moments honestly. Another would of course be the final performance as a whole, even if I think it would have been better had they done without the forced drama if Hardy would make it. Before that, there is a really sweet scene in which the two reunite and console each other again after a previous argument and we see Laurel lie in bed next to Hardy holding his cold hand. That was pretty sweet and touching, maybe the best moment of the film and we realize that even if they agree on Laurel playing with another actor, it just isn't right. As for the final performance, I really would have liked the two looking each other in the eye behind the scenes as a strong contrast to how they keep missing one another on the stage. A bit of a missed opportunity there, but no worries for the film delivered on enough other occasions.

Of course, there is the comedy and the reenactments and with that I don't mean just brief references to their most famous movie (piano-related, or at least their most famous short movie, I think an Oscar winner), but also all their interactions, also those not in front of a crowd like on a ship, but also those actually on stage with Hardy lying in bed. Now moving a bit away from the film again, I would like to speak a bit about the awards recognition I mentioned earlier. It is pretty interesting how not only Coogan got the BAFTA nomination and Reilly got the Globe nomination, but really that there is a very clean split with all the British awards recognition for Coogan and the American for Reilly. Almost funny already, especially for an awards fetishist like myself, probably not for most others. A bit of a pity the film did not win really big anywhere because I found it was very enjoyable, lots of fun most of the time, but also successful from a dramatic perspective. In the end, the really great moments for me were not frequent enough for this film to be lifted into the territory of best-of-the-year (i.e. 4 stars out of 5), but there is no hesitation by any means for me in giving this a positive recommendation. I think if the two stars portrayed in here had the chance to watch this film, they would not be disappointed. I also think it is interesting to see how different they are compared to their on-screen appearances when Laurel is always a bit of a shy guy and Hardy more of a bully. But here Laurel is the more confident one, not a bully by any means though. Also pay attention to how Reilly's character changed over the course of 15 years, how he was in the introduction and how he acted in everything afterwards. I know this Robin Hood film eventually did not get made, but honestly if Coogan and Reilly did it, preferrably with the same crew as for this film here, I would absolutely watch it. That bridge scene (based on real events? who knows) already had me very curious. Go watch Stan & Ollie. I also hope this film will get younger audiences curious about what the real Stan and Ollie did 80 years ago. Already for that reason, it is good this movie was made. Slightly under 100 minutes of movie magic. Watch!
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6/10
A fine mess
Prismark1030 March 2019
Stan & Ollie begins in 1937 when they are in the zenith of their career with Hal Roach. Laurel (Steve Coogan) is unhappy that other comedy stars make more money. Hardy (John C Reilly) needs to work just for the money. Roach (Danny Huston) has cunningly have both is different contract lengths so they cannot walk off together. It led to Hardy making a film without Laurel in 1939.

The film moves to 1953, as the duo travel to Newcastle. They are older, Hardy is fatter and in ill health. The career has been in decline and they tour small music hall venues doing sketches and living in fleapits. Even impresario Bernard Delfont has trouble getting the duo to fill the small theatres as the British audience are interested in newer comedians such as Norman Wisdom.

Laurel & Hardy are touring in the hope that a film producer will back their Robin Hood project. Delfont wants the duo to drum up publicity for their music hall tour which they oblige. Soon they are playing to packed venues.

However Laurel has never got over the fact that Hardy made that one film without him and did not walk away from Hal Roach.

This is a bittersweet and affectionate tribute to the greatest comedy double act of all time. It lovingly recreates some of their best comedy performances. As a drama though it flounders often and is rather laboured as shown by some of the sketches being repeated. Reilly remarkably does an uncanny imitation of Oliver Hardy.

As a postscript Hal Roach lived to the grand old age of 100. In 1992, a few months before his death Roach was introduced to the audience by Billy Crystal at the Oscars. Roach gave an impromptu speech without a microphone so the television audience could not hear him. Quick as a flash Crystal remarked: "I think that's appropriate because Mr. Roach started in silent films."

It was that kind of whip-smart spark the film lacked.
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8/10
Easy as Cake
nogodnomasters26 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The film centered on the bromance that the comedy duo developed in spite of "The Elephant Film." It is 1953 and they are touring Britain. They do their skits in real life. We also get to meet their later in life wives.

I was mildly disappointed that there was so little on their hit films, the on stage antics, or Ollie in silent films. He was in an older version of the Wizard of Oz. It was a sad way to summarize their life. The feature was entertaining.

Guide: No f-word, sex, or nudity.
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9/10
Funny, tragic ... history
kosmasp8 July 2019
For fans of one of the best on screen comedy duo, this is a must see for sure. And you can feel from the first frame that everyone involved knows the task they got themselves into. The responsibility but also the honor to do and be part of such a movie.

The very first shot also makes clear what we as audience members know (at least if we are familiar with Stan and Ollie). The two are not to be seperated. The mirror image we see is from the other person. This is not a coincidence, this is a maybe not too subtle, but still a reminder of what those two meant to each other ... and it builds on that.

Not that there are not trails and stipulations, trouble in paradise and fights with each other. If you spend so much time together you do learn, how the other person behaves, what his flaws are and what you can rely upon. It may concentrate on the latter part of their career (if you can call it that), but that only makes it more enticing.

To say this is well made, would be an understatement, as would be calling this fine acting. Everything fits like a glove and this is a very fitting tribute and reminder of how great both of them were ....
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9/10
It's a delightful film.
Sleepin_Dragon26 April 2020
A look at the latter stages of the Laurel and Hardy duo, their final tour, of England and Ireland.

It felt like a true celebration of the duo, even though it looks at their final years, it's a truly delightful look at the duo, their relationship with one another, their wives, and producer. It's moving, without being overly sentimental, it's not soppy, but may produce a tear.

John C Reilly and Steve Coogan are equally magnificent here, I grew up watching the Laurel and Hardy films, and their mannerisms and characterisations are spot on, nothing but glowing plaudits for the pair of them.

Terrific production values, wonderful sets, costumes etc, it looks amazing.

Gorgeous, 9/10.
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8/10
"We're two peas in a pod!"
classicsoncall13 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I missed this film during it's theatrical release as it wasn't widely shown in my area, so I had to rely on some patience to finally catch it on DVD. Anything to do with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy is more than welcome for this viewer, although I would have preferred a more expansive look at their lives and career. But the fact that this look at a brief period following their heyday just slightly exceeded an hour and a half by itself probably makes my wishes a somewhat moot point.

The casting of the leads was exceptional here. I thought John C. Reilly looked more like Oliver Hardy than Steve Coogan resembled Stan Laurel, but that's only a minor nit-pick. I couldn't get over how well they mimicked the famed comedy duo's mannerisms and foibles. I once saw Dick Van Dyke and Chuck McCann team up doing a Laurel and Hardy impression, and they were good in a short segment. But Coogan and Reilly did it here for the entire picture. What I wouldn't have considered was the way the pair carried on in their private moments as if they were performing on screen, telling jokes and affecting those quirky little gestures, like Ollie's tie flutter and Stan's head scratch. For long time fans, those touches mean a lot by fondly recalling their past antics.

What was sadly poignant however, was the way the men fell out with each other for a time during their British Isles tour. Though it didn't last long, you were aware that the boys were being honest with each other, even if they denied it later. Ollie's illness casts a pall over one's viewing pleasure, and the understated rivalry between their wives (Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda) often felt like it was about to burst open into hostility. Fortunately, the bond between them was such that it mitigated any sort of enduring disaster.

There's a particular scene that caught my eye as it relates to how I see Laurel and Hardy in the grand scheme of comedy things. Walking away dejectedly from the Miffin office where Stan gets the bad news about their proposed new film, he catches sight of a movie poster featuring the 1953 release of "Abbott and Costello Go to Mars". By this time A&C had supplanted Laurel and Hardy as the kings of comedy in America, and the look on Stan's face suggests that he knows that their time is over. As a kid, I always considered A&C to be my favorite comedy team, but growing older I've come to realize that Laurel and Hardy were truly the superior comedy geniuses. Abbott and Costello may have done funny things, but Laurel and Hardy did things funny, and I can think of no greater compliment.
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8/10
all things must pass
lee_eisenberg22 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
To this day, Laurel and Hardy remain one of the most beloved comedy teams. But as with most comedy teams, audiences don't know what went on behind the scenes. Jon S. Baird's "Stan & Ollie" focuses on the duo's swan song: a tour of the British Isles in 1953. The guys did a number of their usual acts (and said acts are still funny even when seeing them performed like this). But at the time, Ollie's health was faltering and Stan's resentment over a previous incident involving contracts was coming to the fore.

Obviously, no one can impersonate L&H 100%. But Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly do a pretty good job at it, showing them as comic geniuses and irascible men. Overall, I'd say that I recommend the movie. It's not any sort of masterpiece, but an incisive and enjoyable look at one of the greatest comedy acts of all time. One might say, a nice mess.
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8/10
Stan & Ollie
jboothmillard20 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I am a huge fan of Laurel & Hardy, one of the greatest comedy duos in history, I found out there was going to a movie about them a year before its release after seeing promotional photos of the lead actors, they looked spot on, this is a movie I was super excited about, directed by Jon S. Baird (Filth). Basically in 1937, Stan Laurel (BAFTA nominated Steve Coogan) and Oliver "Ollie" Hardy aka "Babe" (Golden Globe nominated John C. Reilly) are making Way Out West. Stan refuses to renew his contract with Hal Roach (Danny Huston) as he believes the studio and Roach himself are failing to recognise the global fame of the pair. Ollie however remains tied to Roach on a different contract, the studio attempt to pair him with Harry Langdon (Richard Cant) in the film Zenobia. Though Laurel and Hardy would soon get back together, Ollie's absence during a meeting with Fox results in them not being signed on by the studio, leaving Stan feeling betrayed and bitter for years. Sixteen years later, in 1953, the duo embark on a gruelling music hall tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland while struggling to get a comedic film about Robin Hood made. However poor pre-publicity in Britain managed by producer Bernard Delfont (Rufus Jones) means the tour begins with almost empty back street theatres, Delfont seems more interested in up-and-coming star Norman Wisdom. Delfont therefore organises some public appearances for them, word of their visit to Britain spreads, resulting in them filling much larger prestigious venues. During the tour the pair, driven by Stan, continue to write and develop gags for the Robin Hood film. When the tour comes to London, Stan pays a visit to the film's producer and discovers there is insufficient funding and the project has been cancelled, but he cannot bring himself to tell Ollie, the script development continues. Ollie's wife Lucille (Shirley Henderson) and Stan's wife Ida Kitaeva (Nina Arianda) soon join them at London's Savoy Hotel before they are to perform at a sold-out two-week run at the nearby Lyceum Theatre. After the opening night, a party is held to honour them, tensions begin to show between the two wives, Delfont makes a remark to try and calm the situation. Then tensions arise between Stan and Ollie, Stan's feelings of Ollie's betrayal resurface after his wife brings up the "elephant movie", the two have a public argument about the contract fiasco that split them up. Stan claims they wouldn't have to do the tour if Ollie had been at the Fox meeting, and Ollie claims they weren't really friends, that they were paired up by Hal Roach and that Stan didn't love him as a friend, that he only loved Laurel and Hardy. Despite the strain to their friendship, they continue with public appearances, including judging a beauty contest in the seaside resort of Worthing, Ollie refuses to speak to Stan despite his attempt to apologise. Just when they are about to announce the winner, Ollie collapses from a heart attack and is forced to rest in bed. Two days later, Delfont is informed that is unlikely Ollie will be well enough to continue the tour, Delfont suggests getting a well-known English comic take Ollie's place. Stan visits Ollie, who tells him he intends to retire immediately, explaining that a doctor has warned him that he must not go onstage as the strain could be fatal, he and his wife will be leaving for America as soon as possible. Stan gets into bed with Ollie to warm him up, they reconcile that they did mean any of their comments at the party, the two share a moment of silence together. On the night of the next show Stan finds it impossible to work with another comedian that Delfont has set up for him as a substitute, because it isn't Ollie, and as such the performance is cancelled much to Delfont's dismay. Stan tells his wife that he truly does love Ollie as a friend and intends to return to America with him instead of continuing the tour but asks her not to tell Ollie he's leaving. Ollie in turn decides he can't spend the rest of his life idle in bed and leaves his hotel room just before his wife comes back, he surprises Stan with a knock at the door. The two finally recognise the real fondness that exists between them and what pleasure they get from each other, they silently forgive each other, Ollie smiles and tells Stan they have a show to do. Despite struggling during the night Ollie successfully performs on stage with Stan to a thunderous applause from the audience. As they sail to Ireland, Stan finally confesses that he life to Ollie about the future Robin Hood film that they have been working on, he thinks no-one wants to see a Laurel and Hardy movie anymore. Ollie confesses that he already knew from Stan's demeanour, Stan is confused and asks why they continued working on a script if he knew the truth, Ollie says that it's all they could do. Arriving in Ireland, the duo are welcomed by a large crowd of fans of all ages, and despite Ollie's poor health, they complete the tour, including their iconic "At the Ball, That's All" dance, to great acclaim from their fans. It says in the end credits that following the end of the tour, it was the last time Laurel and Hardy ever worked together; Ollie's health deteriorated and died in 1957, Stan was devastated and never worked again, he continued to write sketches for Laurel and Hardy, and died eight years later. Also starring Susy Kane as Cynthia Clark, John Henshaw as Nobby Cook, Keith MacPherson as James Finlayson, Joseph Balderrama as James Horne, Ashley Robinson as Gordon Douglas and Roger Ringrose as Doctor. From Coogan replicating Laurel's hair fiddling to blowing on his finger to elevate his bowler hat, to Reilly under amazing latex makeup imitating Hardy's exasperated grunt and tie twiddling, both actors are highly convincing as the famous comedy partners, both in their funny and sensitive moments, Coogan and Reilly are joined by an equally good supporting cast, including Henderson and Arianda as the wives. All the moments you would hope to see are covered, with recreations of their most memorable slapstick and skits, including the catchphrase "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into", a suitcase going down a flight of stairs like The Music Box, the broken leg material from County Hospital, and the dance and "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine" from Way Out West. This is a celebration of the career and lives of the double act, and a well-executed insight into what became their swansong performances, but more than anything it is a true story of friendship, it is a delight to watch, a fabulous biographical comedy drama. It is nominated the BAFTAs for Outstanding British Film of the Year and Best Make Up/Hair. Steve Coogan was number 17, and Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were number 7 on The Comedians' Comedian. Very good!
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8/10
Good golly, Stan & Ollie!
BA_Harrison6 January 2021
In 1953, legendary comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, their movie career long behind them, embarked on a live tour of the UK. Stan & Ollie follows the guys as they travel from the North, to London, to Ireland, their long-time friendship tested along the way.

I've only recently discovered the magic of Laurel and Hardy, but have been a fan of Steve Coogan since the early '90s (When I saw him live on stage, introducing his new character, Alan Partridge). I knew Coogan was talented, but his performance in this film blew me away, the comedian so convincing as Stan Laurel that it's easy to forget that we're not watching the real McCoy. He's joined by John C. Reilly, who puts in an equally astounding turn as the affable Oliver Hardy. Coogan and Reilly's love for their characters is evident in every scene, the actors perfectly capturing Stan and Ollie's mannerisms and faultlessly imitating their voices, thus ensuring that the viewer is fully immersed from the outset.

A deep affection for the film's subjects shines through the whole production, from the excellent supporting cast (particularly Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda as the wives), to the impressive direction by Jon S. Baird, to the carefully designed period details. Apparently, the script does play around with the details a bit (such as the chronological order of events), but the film is such a touching study of two much-loved movie stars that minor tweaks to the truth are forgivable.

This movie has only confirmed and deepened my newfound appreciation for the comedy legends. Well done to all involved.
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A glimpse at the last years of the comedy team, Laurel and Hardy.
TxMike16 April 2019
I watched this at home on DVD from my public library.

I came along in life well after Laurel and Hardy were popular but I knew about them, generally considered the best comedy team ever. The movie starts in 1937 near the end of their greatest popularity in movies, then jumps to 1953 and their third and final tour of live theater performances in the British Isles when they were in their early 60s. Hardy died a few years later and Laurel never performed again after that, they were too much of a team.

Apparently the filmmakers got their first choices for the two leads, Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel and John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy, both are great in their roles. There is an interesting DVD "extra" which shows how much work and attention to detail went into the prosthetics and makeup for both characters.

The movie pretty closely follows events of that time and, while it shows parts of several performances, it mainly examines the relationship the two men had, in some respects more like a long-married couple with ups and downs and squabbles but always with undying dedication to each other.

Good movie, and for those interested you can find online the 25 minute "This is your Life" TV segment in 1954, meet the real Laurel and Hardy after they no longer performed, and see a broader coverage of their lives.
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7/10
A heartfelt movie about two iconic comedians...
paul_haakonsen16 March 2019
I watched the old classic Laurel and Hardy movies when I was a kid, and I must admit that I have nothing but fond memories of them. So I was a little bit skeptical about "Stan & Ollie" when I came to hear about it. And truth be told, having John C. Reilly in the role as Oliver Hardy sort of made my toes curl.

Now I had the chance to sit down and watch it. First of all I have to start out by saying hats off to John C. Reilly for really pulling the wool over my eyes here. He phenomenally managed to go from being your average run-of-the-mill comedy actor to actually surprising the wazoo out of me. He really performed so well in this movie and proves that he has so much more talent than just being another generic comedian performer.

"Stan & Ollie" is a feel-good comedy drama about two of the most memorable actors and characters in the history of comedy; Stan Laurel (as played by Steve Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (as played by John C. Reilly). And the storyline takes the audience on a very nice behind-the-scenes trip for which I suppose many people have no idea about whom Laurel and Hardy were behind the faces they performed in the movies.

They made both Coogan and Reilly look very much alike to Laurel and Hardy respectively. Especially Steve Coogan, his lookalike to Stan Laurel was just superb. At times you felt like you were actually still watching Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel on the screen, it was just uncanny.

The storyline in "Stan & Ollie" is good paced and it is an entertaining story for sure. However, I just feel that this is the type of movie that you will watch once and most likely never return to watch a second time because the storyline, while good, just doesn't have enough meat on it to sustain multiple viewings.
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8/10
As a fan of theirs, I mostly liked Stan & Ollie
tavm26 January 2019
After previously reading of two people I admired-Leonard Maltin and Ken Levine-who liked this and one such person-Mark Evanier-who didn't, I finally managed to watch it myself with my movie theatre-working friend and I'm more in the corner of Maltin and Levine than I am with Evanier. Mark cites some of the inaccuracies concerning the characterization of Laurel & Hardy, such as Stan seeming not such a nice human being off-screen or their boss, Hal Roach, embodying the stereotype of the producer/studio head not caring of his stars' financial well being which Leonard seemed also concerned about. Maltin & Levine were mainly touched though and entertained by the depictions of Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly doing the classic comedy team justice, on and off screen. I certainly thought so as I and my friend laughed plenty at their recreations of L & H's classic routines especially that dance to "At the Ball, That's All" and the "Trail of the Lonesome Pine" number from my favorite of their movies, Way Out West. I also liked the depiction of their wives, Ida and Lucille, respectively, with one concerned about Babe's (Ollie's off-screen nickname) health and the other always looking out for Stan's best interest. So as someone who's a longtime fan of them, I mostly liked Stan & Ollie while my friend thought it was "okay". So, yes, that's a recommendation.
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A bitter sweet journey
Gordon-118 July 2019
This film tells the story of two comedians going on tour in the UK.

I was expecting it to be a comedy, but it turned out to be much more than that. It's an emotional journey, highlighting the ups and downs of friendship and partnership. It is a bitter sweet journey, and it will touch your heart strings.
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6/10
A lovely film, well worth watching
studioAT7 September 2019
In an age of superhero and sequel overload it is refreshing that films like this are being made.

I can't confess to knowing much about Laurel and Hardy before watching this, but after this I may watch more of their films.

Both Coogan and Reilly give strong performances as the two beloved comedians and there is enough heart to keep this film going throughout.

Well worth a watch.
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8/10
Life Of Reilly
writers_reign11 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
A timely reminder of what REAL comedy duos are all about for those like me who could only gag in bafflement that acts beyond atrocious like Little And Large, Canon And Ball etc ever got past a Working Men's Club in Nelson And Colne. Even in the twilight of their careers Laurel and Hardy could still wipe the floor with the opposition - two of whom, the abject Abbott & Costello and equally dire Norman Wisdom are featured/mentioned during their fleeting moment in the sun. The strict accuracy of the storyline has been called into question but overall it failed to impair what remains a fine film. As a person I find Steve Coogan an arrogant narcissist so full of himself to be on the verge of giving birth but twice now - in Philomena, by the same writer, and now here - I have seen him give a half decent performance. Everyone involved aquits themselves well and it should certainly hold up to a second viewing
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7/10
A gentle stroll down memory lane...
CinemaSerf30 November 2019
As a kid, i always shied away from the sort of "slapstick" humour of Laurel and Hardy, so I knew little about them. This little retrospective proved to be an enjoyable traipse throughout their last few professional years, down on their luck, working for a somewhat unscrupulous Bernard (later Lord) Delfont from small, provincial, music halls in Britain. John C. Reilly does an excellent job conveying the frailties of Oliver Hardy. Steve Coogan is less convincing - he seems to resort more to mimicry. All-in-all, though - quite an charming and gently told story with quite a few laughs.
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9/10
Coogan and Reilly Make A DynamicDuo out of a DynamicDuo
george.schmidt2 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
STAN & OLLIE (2018) ***/12 Steve Coogan, John C. Reilly, Shirley Henderson, Nina Arianda, Rufus Jones, Danny Huston. Coogan and Reilly are uncannily transformed into the dynamic duo of legendary comedy team Laurel & Hardy (thanks too to make-up by Mark Coulier in the process) in this valentine to the entertainers as a swan song to their act in the mid-50s doing a traveling act thru Europe facing the inevitable - the decline and air or retirement hovering over them. Jeff Pope's intelligent screenplay and Jon S. Baird's careful direction show the men as flawed yet loving and ultimately, humanizing show biz giants with deft aplomb while the two leads flawlessly re-enact classic comedy routines and impeccable impersonations.
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8/10
Mainly for Laurel and Hardy fans
AlsExGal4 February 2019
As with many "bio-pics" today, it does not cover their entire lives but just a small event (such as "My Week With Marilyn" about Monroe and "Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool" about Gloria Grahame.) This one is about their final tour in the UK when they were much older and not in demand for movies anymore. The casting could not be better. Steve Coogan is amazing as Stan Laurel, he looks and sounds exactly like him, he is portrayed as the brains of the team, often doing most of the writing and arranging the business end, so different from his simpleton character on screen. Even more surprising is how well John C. Reilly brings Oliver Hardy to life. The prosthetics do help, but he has the voice and mannerisms down perfectly. An added bonus is the actresses playing their wives who accompany them on the tour, they have some funny and catty banter between them.

This film will appeal mostly to L&H fans and film buffs, because if anyone goes in cold not knowing anything they might be bewildered. The boys have an argument about Hardy's "elephant film" which we film buffs will immediately know is the the solo Hardy film from 1939 called "Zenobia".
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7/10
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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