Stan and Ollie (PG)
Starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly Directed by John S. Baird 97 Minutes 2019 (UK)
It’s the final tour by silver screen legends Laurel and Hardy. And it begins in a dreary Newcastle theatre with a meagre crowd, and continues to play to less than packed houses, due to most people thinking that the duo had retired. Part of the charm of this film for a resident of West Sussex, is seeing Laurel and Hardy judging a beauty content at the Worthing Lido!
What becomes plain as the story unfolds is that as one reviewer puts it, the film was in one sense a love story! So deep was the bond between these two very heterosexual men (they were both married many times), that they found it difficult to live with each other – and even more difficult to live without. Stan wrote scripts for Laurel and Hardy for eight years after the death of Ollie; the labour of love only concluding at his own death in 1965.
The film beautifully captures the wonder of simple humour performed with grace and perfect timing. It also highlights the complex nature of nostalgia and the pain of fading health and glory. Christians should watch the film and think about what is truly valuable and lasting in life.
By the way, don’t rush out when the credits roll; you’ll miss a treat.
John Woods is pastor of Lancing Tabernacle in West Sussex