Stan and Ollie documents the lesser-known twilight years of the comedy geniuses, Laural and Hardy; aging and fading from the public eye, they embark on a tour of Britain in order to raise funds for a big movie break to bring them back in the limelight.
Stan and Ollie
Stars: Steve Coogan, John C Reilly
Tickets £5. Tickets can be booked online (click below) or from the Community Centre office.
The film being called Stan and Ollie is poetically appropriate; we are being given a wonderfully personal look at the men behind the celluloid. The end result is a movie that is simply irresistible.John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan star as the titular leads, in portrayals that are both uncanny and effortless. Reilly plays Hardy with a jovial honesty, his clumsy gait and trademark finger-twiddle completing a gorgeously authentic performance. The same is true of Coogan, whose portrayal of Stan Laurel is well-rounded and classically humorous.
This film truly could not work without the two actors, who commit to their roles with ease in a partnership that seems as natural as Laurel and Hardy themselves. However, it is Rufus Jones' hilarious tour manager who hits the nail on the head, quipping that we get "two double acts for the price of one", when referring to Stan and Ollie's fiercely protective wives. Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda give the film another layer in humorous supporting performances as Lucille Hardy and Ida Laurel, with Arianda, in particular, being absolutely scene-stealing. Jeff Pope (who worked with Steve Coogan on Philomena) writes a sharp and versatile script; throughout the film, the lines are blurred between the on-screen personas of Stan and Ollie and their personal lives. This makes for results that are, as expected of this film, utterly hysterical, yet also comes with the difficult job of making sure the comedy and drama coincide comfortably. Stan and Ollie does this perfectly; while the film is certainly an irreverent and nostalgic comedy, what allows it to truly work is the emotional edge that acts almost like a tonic, cutting through the slapstick.
The film never strains for laughs and the same is true of its approach to its more serious side, lending an emotional weight to the fun ("You loved Laurel and Hardy", Stan snaps, "but you never loved me"). The whole package is wrapped up nicely with Rolfe Kent's jubilant score and Laurie Rose's cinematography, full of marvellous continuous shots (the opening prologue on the set of Way Out West particularly stands out). Some may argue that Stan and Ollie is sweet to the point of saccharine, but I disagree; it's a charming film that's filled to the brim with joy and heart. In times where, perhaps, the negative seems to stand out, this is a breath of fresh air that reminds us of the importance of love and laughter in a quaint and purely magical way.
The New Royalty Cinema screenings are at the centreCinema in Bourne End Community Centre, Wakeman Road, Bourne End SL8 5SX
Tickets can be bought online (follow the link in the film summary on this page) or from the Community Centre office or on the door (subject to availability)
For information on the BBFC film classifications: Click Here
The New Royalty Cinema is a community cinema run by volunteers as a fund-raising event for Bourne End (Bucks) Community Association, a charity registered in England and Wales No. 300236