English Review – Stan & Ollie (2018)


Come out it was a pleasure to acknowledge life of people we initially don’t yet know, especially if it’s bittersweet.

Biographical movie doesn’t always build for fans, or to invite some learning about a legendary persona. Does not always work within that kind of way. Like this movie indeed. Even though we do know who Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly are, we (especially I) don’t have any idea who their played characters were. It’s Laurel Stan and Oliver Hardy, mostly unknown for nowadays contemporary industries.

They were a comedy duo act during the early Hollywood Classical of America cinema. I reckon that they turn out a popular, iconic artist in time. Whilst, the director Jon S. Baird and writer Jeff Pope decide not to highlight their success story or whatever that is about glorious time, or even how these people lived up the entertainment industries; instead, we brought into one phase of their late-career life; where it all almost end. When Stand and Ollie have aged and in the verge of retiring. It’s when Stan and Ollie reembark to reunite one more time after in a long time haven’t met, and it was like they’re saying: Let’s do this once again, while it lasts.

Played by Steve Coogan, Stan Laurel was the ambitious one. But he had to part with his colleague Ollie (John C. Reilly) after his contract is kind of terminated by their movie producer Hal Roach. Ollie, in other way, was still on hand cause he could ‘behaved’. Right after that, the movie skipped to the next 16 years, and we learn that Stan has managed to put a so-called comeback movie with one of producer he had convinced. He thinks about Ollie and decided that the movie also belongs to his old friend. They meet, agree and arrange a comical theatrical tour in the UK and Ireland while preparing for the movie.

Lots of critics say that the movie doesn’t try hard to give a warm drama and a meaningful exploration of character. And yes it is. As people from Roger Ebert has said that the producer instead titled its movie as “Stan & Ollie” despite the fact that they were known as “Laurel & Hardy” shows that the film wants to reenact their life, not in career-mode, but rather personal.

Coogan and Reily give us a solid recreation of the men, both on-stage and off-stage. Two are great mime-artist and it was played well by Coogan and Reily. While at first, we might be bothered on how low the comedy standard back then (for sure ! people are laughing their head off for some simple pantomimes), eventually we valued them and think that perhaps their stage act was one of purest comedy art.

The movie mild and gentle tone soaked us slowly but in a good way through its two core characters. They were best friends until they think they might not. Both are seeking reason that one does not care with another until realized that the two’s only have each other.

Honed with appearances of salty wives of the two, we back in the intro when I defined this movie of being a biography of relatively unknown people. Come out it was a pleasure to acknowledge the life of people we initially don’t yet know, especially if it’s bittersweet.