IF there was an Oscar for success as an on- screen partnership then Steve Coogan and John C Reilly playing Laurel and Hardy would be outright winners.

Their dual, dynamic sensitive yet powerful portrayal of the world's most-loved comedy act is nothing short of a movie miracle.

This is a true story adapted for the screen by accomplished writer Jeff Pope and directed by Jon S Baird – both men clearly love their subject matter.

It is a film that will appeal to fans of Ulverston-born writer, director and actor Stan Laurel and American silent movie star Oliver 'Babe' Hardy.

It was studio boss Hal Roach who put the talented Anglo-American twosome together and created a pair of global stars.

We first meet the duo in 1937 at the height of their fame.

Ambition motivated Stan while Oliver supported his pal with all the imaginative ideas.

The action moves on 16 years when their popularity has seemingly faded.

They go on a tour arranged by Bernard Delfont to help finance a film about Robin Hood.

While the tour starts off playing to half-full houses it eventually gains momentum and national critical acclaim

These shows are lovingly re-created.

Steve and John capture the sheer fun of Stan and Ollie with scenes from the film Way Out West.

The Trail of the Lonesome Pine is a sheer joy to see and listen to in the hands if the two actors.

Sheila Henderson as Lucille Hardy and Nina Arianda as Ida Laurel are also a fine double act as they support their husbands.

If you are a fan of Laurel and Hardy will fall in love with this film from the opening credits to the heart-tugging closing credits featuring images of the original legends alongside the wonderful Coogan and Reilly double act.

Globe verdict: A classic, beautiful bio-picture.

Five stars

Opens across the UK on January 11