Eddie the Eagle: Simple, Heart-Warming Underdog Story
Hugh JackmanTaron Egerton
Action & Adventure
In a year dominated by comic-book and video-game adaptations, simple, feel-good movies such as Eddie the Eagle can easily be overlooked. After spending fourteen years in production, the story of determined British underdog ski jumper, Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards, has finally reached the big-screen under the direction of actor-turned-director Dexter Fletcher – best known as ‘Soap’ from Guy Ritchie’s Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels – who’s put together an engaging, witty and an inspirational tale of determination and courage.
Ever since he was a young boy, Eddie Edwards (Egerton) has dreamed of competing in the Olympics; a dream which was blindly supported by his mom, Janette (Hartley), but, never quite sat right with his working-class father, Terry (Allen), who rarely held back in the criticism of his son’s lack of natural athletic ability.
Never the one to give up trying, Eddie soon shocks everyone when he manages to break a couple of local records as a downhill skier, but he’s quickly dismissed by the stuffy British Olympic Committee because of his unconventional looks and quirky personality.
Unwavering in his pursuit, Eddie soon turns to ski jumping when he learns that Britain hasn’t had a recognised ski jumper in over sixty years. He soon heads to an Olympic training camp in Germany where he comes across Bronson Peary (Jackman); a washed up alcoholic former ski jumping champion who takes a liking to Eddie’s spirit and offers to show him the ropes.
Capturing the infectious optimism and unyielding determination of his character, as well as his awkward walk and nerdy squint, Egerton – who came to our attention in last year’s Kingsman: The Secret Service manages to infuse his character with an endearing quality and a lovable can-do attitude which audiences will naturally engage with
His determination is almost palpable and whilst his goofiness may have been overplayed a bit – apparently the story is only about ten percent true and the rest is all pure cinematic fiction – it doesn’t distract from the fact that Eddie was a character like no other. Jackman’s character, whose presence in Eddie’s story is pure fiction, sees the Ozzie actor fall back on his usual charm to great effect.
Written by Sean Macaulay and Simon Kelton, Eddie the Eagle is driven by a sense of simplicity and a warm familiarity which allows the audience to get behind its story. Although it sometimes falls victim to the usual trappings of an underdog-sports-tale narrative, the committed and amiable performances – as well as Fletcher’s keen eye for creating adrenaline-filled jump scenes – are enough to keep the plot charming enough to ignore the many, many liberties that have been taken with the story.