With their golden era long behind them, comedy duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy embark on a variety hall tour of Britain and Ireland. Despite the pressures of a hectic schedule, and with the support of their wives Lucille and Ida – a formidable double act in their own right – the pair's love of performing, as well as for each other, endures as they secure their place in the hearts of their adoring public
This movie tells a simple story beautifully about two complex men at the end of their careers.
I think I disagree with some people in believing that Stan & Ollie benefits from narrowing the plot. Showing their career together at their pear would show what they were as a team and what they did together, but this angle illustrates who they are. It sweats the details. Coogan and Reilly are very convincing in their roles.
They still have ambitions that fuel an attempt at a comeback, but their ambition is clouded by the knowledge that they are past their prime. They enjoy the nostalgia and leftover love from their fans even while they try to rise above it. The movie is able to end on a high note even though they cannot achieve all of their goals.
Perhaps what I like the most about this movie is the treatment of the stars' wives. As the agent character states, the two wives are also a sort of double act. On the surface they don't seem to like each other a lot, but we see moments of respect and fun between them, and they obviously both love their famous husbands very much. As I said above, Coogan and Reilly do a great job in this movie, but it would have been a lesser film without these two supporting characters.
Fable Pictures, Entertainment One, Baby Cow Productions, Sonesta Films, BBC Films, Laurel and Hardy Feature Productions by Jon S. Baird, Jeff Pope, 'A.J.' Marriot.
Stars: Steve Coogan, John C. Reilly, Shirley Henderson, Nina Arianda.
Genres: Biography, Comedy, Drama, Family, History
Keywords: heart attack male friendship comedian biography based on a true story double act music hall 1950s 1930s
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