Eddie the Eagle Might be The Best Underdog Story I’ve Ever Seen
Eddie the Eagle
Directed by: Dexter Fletcher
Written by: Sean Macaulay, Simon Kelton
Starring: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman
Running time 105 minutes
Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material, partial nudity and smoking
Eddie the Eagle tells the—inspired by true events—story of Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Taron Egerton) whose lifelong ambition to be an Olympic athlete lead him to the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics as Britons entire ski jumping team. As a child Michael had dodgy knees, which left him in a leg brace, this also, lead him to a book highlighting Olympic athletes, that was when he decided to overcome his temporary disability, he only needed to discover which sport would lead him to the Olympic games. This not only challenged him physically, but also severely taxed the patience of his parents, before his discovered downhill skiing. Michael Edwards developed into an awkward, but proficient downhill skier, but when it came time to qualify for the Olympic team, the British Olympic committee decided he was not Olympic material and excluded him from competition. Undeterred Michael discovered that there was not currently a British ski jumping team, determined to become a team of one and then to qualify by default, he set off to Germany for a crash course in this potentially deadly sport. In Germany Michael meets disgraced ex ski jumper Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), who reluctantly teaches Michael how to avoid death, and then how to become an Olympian against all odds.
Eddie the Eagle is the best sports film I have had the pleasure to review to date. It is unabashedly upbeat and enthusiastic, endlessly endearing while remaining thoroughly engaging. Like all true story film, especially those around historical sporting events, the outcome is not a mystery; thankfully, the filmmakers here did not attempt to make it look like the outcome would be anything other than what it was historically. For the sake of those that do not already know I will not give away the ending, but rest assured the journey, not the ending, is the payout in this film.
Taron Egerton delivered a fantastic performance, adopting many of the personality traits and mannerisms of Michael “Eddie” Edwards, while keeping the performance his own, meaning his entire performance did not play like a 100-minute impersonation. Which played very well against Hugh Jackman being Hugh Jackman, while there was nothing wrong with Jackman’s performance it was very similar to many of his past performances, gruff but amicable while being just comic enough to keep pace with Egerton.
I do also want to take a moment to mention the film score. It was iconic, conjuring up not only the Olympic games of the past, but classic underdog films from the 80’s. It fit so perfectly with the tone of the film anything else would have felt out of place, no matter how excellent.
Every aspect of this film, even the often trodden tropeish elements, serves to energize the audience and lighten hearts. I honestly cannot help but love this film, I cannot think of a good reason that anyone would find this film to be anything than unreasonably endearing, and unabashedly cheerful. If you just want to feel good, this is the film for you.