McCann At The Movies: Stan And Ollie Is a Funny, Emotionally-Charged Charm

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John McCann says ‘Stan and Ollie’ is a brilliant bromantic biopic on Hollywood’s original comedic double act…

ABBOTT and Costello, Morecambe and Wise, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby are all famous comedic duos that have the trailblazing works of a certain Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy to thank for paving the way for all that followed such was there popularity and success worldwide.

As much as their on screen antics were lamented, their private and personal lives were tales largely untold, until this John S.Baird-directed feature hit Tralee Omniplex this week to a willing audience having received positive initial reviews.

‘Stan and Ollie’ tells of Laurel & Hardy, one of the world’s great comedy teams, who set out on a doomed variety hall tour of Britain in 1953.

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Worn by age and with their golden era now behind them, they face an uncertain future. However, as the charm and beauty of their performances shines through, they re-connect with their adoring fans and the tour becomes a hit.

Tragically, Stan & Ollie can’t quite shake the spectre of their past; the long-buried skeletons, along with Oliver’s poor health, start to threaten their precious partnership.

Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly in ‘Stan And Ollie’.

What director Baird has quite remarkably managed to achieve in this warm and charming film, is to combine the brilliance and hilarity of the famous duo without resorting to easy and cheap tricks and shows not only their talent and likability but their humane and vulnerable sides too.

This is aided in no small part by two incredible lead performances by Steve Coogan and John C.Reilly who have been nominated for a BAFTA (Coogan) and a Golden Globe (Reilly) for their touching portrayal of this dynamic couple.

This tender and poignant feature focuses largely on the love between these two figures and how it took them until the end of their long and illustrious careers to fully realise how much they meant to each other.

Coogan and Reilly, who are undoubtedly skilled comedians, bring enormous depth and warmth to their roles and as a result serve up a fitting tribute to these comedy icons.

Praise also must go to Nina Arianda and Shirley Henderson who play Stan and Ollie’s long suffering wives and serve up their own unique double act in the process.

On your trip to Tralee Omniplex this week, if  you are looking for a heartfelt, funny yet emotionally-charming film filled with immense acting performances from a bygone era then look no further than Stan and Ollie.


• For more of John McCann’s movie reviews, check out his Facebook page here and website here

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