Friday January the 11th sees the launch of two wonderful movies here in the UK – Stan & Ollie, and Colette. Both quite different films yet definitely worth a trip to the flicks for this weekend coming.
Let’s start with Stan & Ollie – the story of Laurel and Hardy that you just didn’t KNOW!
The leads, Steve Coogan (Stan), and John C Reilly (Olly), have really big boots to fill as Laurel and Hardy — the world’s greatest comedy team — However they do them proud, mastering the nuances of the character’s personalities and routines beautifully and the film built into a thoughtful and moving production.
The pair face an uncertain future during 1953, as their golden era of Hollywood films remain long behind them. Diminished by age, the duo set out to reconnect with their adoring fans by touring variety halls in Britain. The shows don’t become an instant hit, it takes time, Stan and Ollie can’t quite shake the past as long-buried tension and Hardy’s failing health start to threaten their precious partnership.
With excellent supporting roles from Rufus Jones playing Bernard Delfont, and Shirley Henderson and Nina Ariana as wives Lucille Hardy and Ida Laurel giving us “two double acts for the price of one” – it’s a gentle and delightful insight into the little-known final chapter in the lives of comedy legends Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, and their sweet and enduring friendship.
Colette, another wonderfully elegant ‘biopic’ for January – just beautiful. Keira Knightley delights as country loving COLETTE marrying a successful Parisian writer known commonly as “Willy” (Dominic West), Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette is transplanted from her childhood home in rural France to the intellectual and artistic splendor of Paris. Where the rakish Willy convinces Colette to ghostwrite for him.
Colette was a truly modern, complex woman: a libertine and bisexual, an avant-garde French novelist she also made her fortune from her wits and pushed back against the patriarchy. Brought to life by Kiera Knightley, in one of her best roles yet as Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, who lived from 1873 to 1954 and became identified with such issues as creative copyright ownership and women’s emancipation.
The costumes add another dimension for me, I was intrigued and enchanted by every outfit. Costume designer Andrea Flesch brought together more than 50 period outfits – Many of the garments worn in the film were many decades old, and had to be painstakingly restored at the Museum of Applied Arts in Hungary. More than 100 original pieces were bought from around the world. The character Willy, for example, needed 38 costume changes. You can read more about this here.