“Stan & Ollie”, intimate and melancholy portrait of two geniuses of comedy

Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly slip into the costumes of Laurel and Hardy, the greatest comedy duo in the history of cinema. A beautiful film with melancholy hidden on the end of a love. That is “Stan & Ollie” movie.

Between 1927 and 1950, Laurel and Hardy produced 107 films, including 23 feature films. We owe to the comic duo the most beautiful sadomasochistic couple in the history of cinema. Big Hardy continues to mock the lean Laurel on the screen. In life, things are a little more complex. Stan & Ollie shows another division of roles. Laurel is the thinking head, the worker, the one who writes the sketches. Hardy is a gambler and gambler, always in debt.

The film takes them in 1953. Their hour of glory is behind them. Aging comedians reform their duet the time of a tour on stage in England. They sleep first in shabby hotels, struggling to make room full, before reconquering the public.

The screenwriter Jeff Pope has inserted some famous gags of the tandem (the trunk that goes down the stairs, like the piano in Livreurs, know how to deliver!). But it mostly tells the end of a love story, the swan song of two artists who will never be together again. The film would not hold the road without the quality of its interpreters. John C. Reilly (The Sisters Brothers), in the costume of Hardy, and Steve Coogan (Philomena), in that of Laurel, are quite faithful to their models to believe but do not try to singer them either. Under the mask of the clown, melancholy outcrops.

They’ve been hanging up their bowler hats for over 60 years but Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy remain the most effective comic duo in the history of cinema, driven by a unique alchemy that evokes “Stan & Ollie”, centered on their relationship and a difficult end of career.

This is the first time that a filmmaker tackles this mythical association.

Which still evokes something to “millenials” even if many have not seen any of their films.

With Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy embody the golden age of silent film in the late 1920s, but also the beginnings of the talking, to become world stars in the mid-30s.

But it is two tired, tired heroes who are looking for a final film tour that chose to portray director Jon S. Baird rather than the duo at the height of its glory.

Hollywood has turned the page Laurel and Hardy since 1944, but both partners cling, even starting a tour of theaters in England in 1953, more than 60 years each.

It’s time for disillusionment, empty two-thirds rooms, which end up raising tension between “El Gordo y El Flaco” (the big and the lean), as they are nicknamed in the Spanish-speaking world.

The opportunity to explore

This exceptional relationship as closely as possible was partly to be imagined, because if the writings and the testimonies exist, neither one nor the other has ever been publicly indebted to them. privacy.

“It was not about redoing their movies, because they already exist,” or “to tell what can be found on Wikipedia in ten seconds on his phone,” said John C. Reilly, already noticed in “Chicago” and “Gangs of New York” who performs Oliver Hardy, during a round table at the beginning of December in a cultural center in New York.

“It was about things that nobody knew except for them,” he said of the film that is released Friday in the United States and March 6 in France.

– “Alchemy” –

Very convincing, John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan manage to give life to this duet, in life and on stage: on one side the British Stan Laurel, workaholic who wrote most of the skits and numbers of Laurel and Hardy, on the other, the American Oliver Hardy, an epicurean but imprisoned in his cumbersome physique.

Both united by an immoderate taste for comedy, in life as on screen, and for women, with a series of weddings to the key of both sides.

“Alchemy is something people talk about as a mysterious rain that falls on a few elected,” laughed John C. Reilly. “But in fact, it is, and Steve and I managed the same way as Laurel and Hardy, trusting each other, discovering who he is, being there for him, helping him to pick up when he’s down. ”

“I did not want this (film) to be a stain on the memory of Laurel and Hardy,” said John C. Reilly emphatically. “These people are so important to me and have so much influenced my aesthetic sensibility.”

“For me, the question was not only to appear in a favorable light or to do a good job as an actor,” he insisted. “We did this film largely to honor those guys who did not have the recognition they deserved in their lifetime.”

INFO:

Rating: PG (for some language, and for smoking)
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Directed By: Jon S. Baird
Written By: Jeff Pope
Stars: Steve Coogan, John C. Reilly, Shirley Henderson
In Theaters: Jan 25, 2019 Wide
Runtime: 97 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics

Christy Lemire
It’s a lovely film if you love movies… There’s also a great undercurrent of melancholy.

Sandra Hall
It’s a film made with an enormous amount of care and affection. And Coogan and O’Reilly don’t just perform. They resurrect.

Michael Phillips
It’s a modest film, but a very good one, and by the end I was quite moved by its valiant belief in decency and in the duo’s eternal appeal.

Adam Graham
“Stan & Ollie” has plenty to say about the things that bring us together, and the things that keep us together.

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