Director: Dexter Fletcher
Writers: Sean Macaulay and Simon Kelton
Cast: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Jo Hartley, Keith Allen, Iris Berben, Tim McInnerny, and Christopher Walken
Synopsis: The story of Eddie Edwards, the notoriously tenacious British underdog ski jumper who charmed the world at the 1988 Winter Olympics.
*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*
I wasn’t even born when Eddie Edwards entered the Olympics, so I have no real connection to the real story behind him. However, director Dexter Fletcher and star Taron Egerton were able to bring this film to life with a likable character that we can really root for and all thanks, not just to the script, but also Egerton’s great work on the film.
Eddie the Eagle follows Eddie Edwards (Egerton), who since a child, has been dreaming of being in the Olympics. We see through a fun montage his attempts to learn and skill certain events, but Eddie faces obstacles to get to his dreams. He has bad knees, poor eyesight and a lack of natural athleticisms that it takes to make it to the Olympics, also, his father Terry (Allen) doesn’t want him sticking to “silly” dreams. However, Eddie is determined as ever and finds a way to get on the British Olympic team that is set for the Winter Olympics in Calgary in 1988. All he has to do is go to Germany, train, and qualify.
When he’s in Germany he meets other ski jumpers, who don’t necessarily give him a warm welcome. Soon after, he meets Bronson Peary (Jackman), a hard drinking, and chain-smoker with a bit of an attitude. Eddie eventually finds out that Bronson was a jumper himself and the two start training, with Bronson thinking Eddie’s over his head, but eventually sees true potential in the underdog.
Saying that Eddie the Eagle is just an underdog movie would be an understatement. The film can resonate with I’m sure anyone to everyone. Eddie deals with naysayers, that includes the British Olympic Association Dustin Target (McInnerny), and physical and financial obstacles that are constantly trying to bring him down and make him quit, but there is something about Eddie Edwards – at least this version of him – that takes all that and uses it to prove everyone wrong. It’s that kind of attitude and charisma that Egerton brings that make us root for Eddie from the minute we see him.
Egerton’s Eddie is extremely likeable and that’s thanks to Egerton himself, who, if he wasn’t before, he’s now bound to be a big name and one everyone will know thanks to this. Hugh Jackman is reliable as ever and his former hero turned mentor role – which he’s played before in Real Steel – works here. Jackman and Egerton have great chemistry together and any time the two are onscreen together it completely works and elevates the film to a new level. Jo Hartley, who play Eddie’s mom Janette, gives a great and heartwarming performance as Eddie’s supportive mother is one of the many highlights the film has.
Not everything about Eddie the Eagle works. Jackman’s Bronson has a subplot with Christopher Walken’s Warren Sharp – who has about three short scenes in the whole film – that feels forced in and the film could have worked without it to be honest. Even the resolution, albeit being a “feel-good” moment, is rushed. Speaking of “feel-good” moments, Eddie the Eagle is filled with them, which could make people think the film is riddled cliché sports film moments. Which could be a fair assessment, but it doesn’t really make Eddie the Eagle a bad film.
Of course, a film about ski jumping, you hope there are good ski jumping sequences, well, you’re in luck. While some of them are done with CGI, which you can’t blame the team behind the film for doing it that way since the safety of the actors comes first. Ultimately though, the film is about Eddie and his journey, and that is where the movie strives.
All in all, Eddie the Eagle is a great heartwarming, emotional, funny, and great motivational film that is elevated by the performance of Taron Egerton as Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards.
Eddie the Eagle
4.5 out of 5