If it’s true that the eyes are windows to the soul, then the great American actor John C. Reilly has a beautiful one.

In “Stan & Ollie,” Reilly, as Oliver Hardy, all but disappears under blankets of makeup; but his eyes, those twinkly Irish blinkers, are telling us he’s still alive and in charge.

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy — those bumbling, lovable buffoons so many of us grew up with, from our neighborhood movie palaces to the reruns on our television sets — have been skillfully recreated in a big, full-color masterpiece. And just in time.

Decades after both are gone, after the original films have yellowed, the posters have faded, been ripped down and plastered over with newer, fresher comedic duos, the melody, as they say, lingers on.

Director Jon S. Baird and writer Jeff Pope give us a bright new Valentine to those amber-tinted glory days when comedy was not only king but a balm, a flurry of soft, funny gags to calm the dark winds of hard times.

Stan (Steve Coogan) and Ollie (Reilly) were a major part of those days. They came roaring out of the silents, with Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton and dozens of others who all now only exist in silver frames.

Baird and Pope wisely avoid any documentary “greatest hits” story here. Instead, they go right to the hearts and souls of two funny guys, where sadness and pain shared shadowy rooms.

We see two icons who bleed, paragons with sore feet, cinema idols who cry in closets and laugh at one another’s pratfalls.

We meet their wives (Stan had four; Ollie had three), but Baird gives us the mates who were with them at the final curtain: Shirley Henderson as Lucille, Ollie’s great love who nursed him through his last years, and Nina Arianda as Stan’s Russian tough-and-tender wife Ida. Both bring their characters to life.

We meet the famous Hal Roach, played by Danny Huston, and a parade of actors playing once great names who are now lost to history. All add color and sparkle to the film.

Laurie Rose’s camera is a stunning magic lantern that almost makes us feel as though he was there at the beginning. That’s artistry.

Rolfe Kent’s music is, of course, properly nostalgic and perfectly applied in layers of haunting streams. Bravo.

Mark Coulier and his department of makeup? Nothing here would have even happened without their brilliant touches.

When walking the haunted streets of past glory, you have to get the “duds” right or don’t do it at all, and Guy Speranza’s costumes make it all happen.

It goes without saying that when you need a bucket of pathos and a barrel of joy, where else do you go but to the Irish?

All glory and thunderous applause must, of course, go to actors Coogan and Reilly. Taken alone, they are masters of their craft, but put together here, they become a force of nature.

If you have tears, a famous writer once said, prepare to shed them now. But if these sordid times have shackled your ability to laugh, then throw off your chains. You’re in for a really good time.

J.P. Devine, of Waterville, is a former stage and screen actor.

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