A love letter to the Laurel and Hardy classics from the last century. This Stan and Ollie review is brought to you by AboutFlick’s Mr T.
Director: Jon S. Baird
Review: Stan and Ollie is not just a film, it is essentially a love letter from Scottish director Jon S. Baird to the Laurel and Hardy classics from the last century. It explores the bittersweet friendship that existed between Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (John C. Reilly). The movie takes place in their later years when they are battling old age and diminishing popularity and facing financial woes.
Steve Coogan has made a name for himself starring in low key comedy dramas like Philomena (2013), The Trip To Spain (2017) and Ideal Home (2018) and he gets into the character of Stan Laurel with ease. John C. Reilly is one of the most prolific character actors of our era and he effectively becomes Oliver Hardy. This actually reminds me of his work in the recent movie The Sisters Brothers (2018) where he also played the role of a person deeply unhappy with his position in a partnership. Together Coogan and Reilly effortlessly bring the physical comedy that made Laurel and Hardy so famous to life and I couldn’t help but reach out for those old Laurel and Hardy DVDs stored in my basement. Rufus Jones as Bernard Delfont is also quite funny, and his comic timing is exactly on point.
The film has its flaws though. Some of the dramatizations between the main characters can feel quite contrived at times. The exchanges between Lucille and Ida, the wives of Hardy and Laurel also feel a bit over the top. Although I must applaud the director for keeping the stakes low in the movie and not make the plot points preposterous.
Now, if I told you that Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Laurel & Hardy movies induce nostalgia in a 90s kid like me, you’d think I’m out of my mind. Yet they do exactly that and it’s because of an event that used to occur during our school days. It was called ‘Movie Day’ where we used to gather around in front of a huge projector screen inside our school halls and witness these classics. Back then, there was no Netflix or Amazon Prime and the internet speeds left a lot to be desired. And these movies used to offer us an escape from the mundane workload. Stan & Ollie is a throwback to those days and serves as a reminder why I fell in love with movies in the first place.
Rating: My rating for Stan and Ollie is 3.5/5.
Who should watch this: If you like physical comedies by Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Jim Carrey and Laurel & Hardy, you will enjoy Stan and Ollie. Also check out Philomena (2013), Step Brothers (2008), Ideal Home (2018) and The Sisters Brothers (2018).