Eddie the Eagle (7/10)

Eddie the Eagle

Win or lose, always aim high


Inspired by true events, Eddie the Eagle is a feel-good story about Michael "Eddie" Edwards (Taron Egerton), an unlikely but courageous British ski-jumper who never stopped believing in himself - even as an entire nation was counting him out. With the help of a rebellious and charismatic coach (played by Hugh Jackman), Eddie takes on the establishment and wins the hearts of sports fans around the world by making an improbable and historic showing at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.

Title Eddie the Eagle
Director Dexter Fletcher
Director of Photography
Producer Rupert Maconick
Runtime 1 h 46 min
Certification PG-13
Release Date 26 February 2016
Tagline Win or lose, always aim high
IMDb Id tt1083452

This movie about how a little boy with big ambitions became Eddie the Eagle may be light fare but it is also admirably successful in what it aims to be: an underdog-comes-out-on-top feel-good movie.

Eddie (Taron Egerton) has had a dream from a very young age: to compete in the Olympics. It took him decades of hard work to get there.  You might expect that hard work to be about someone becoming a world class athlete at their chosen sport – but no that’s not Eddie. He’s not really an athlete at all, and he isn’t committed to a specific sport to shine in either – yet he will achieve his Olympic Dreams. At last he finds a way to get there: as Britain’s only ski jump athlete: without competition and without rules excluding him from participating, he not only makes the squad – he is the squad.

The movie does take liberties with the truth – e.g. in reality there was no such character as Hugh Jackman’s washed up ex-jumper-turned-coach-against-his-will but that doesn’t hurt the film. The underdog story works well, and while of course the results are known in reality and also predictable in the movie, the journey is the joy of this film. Egerton manages to create a loveable Eddie, and he and director Dexter Fletcher manage to avoid the cynicism or even nudge-nudge-wink-wink territory that would seem an easy risk for a movie about a non-athlete in the Olympics. The only, and appropriate, wink in the movie is a nod to the Jamaican bobsled team, whose equally unlikely adventures to get to the same 1988 Winter Olympics were chronicled in the 1993 movie Cool Runnings.

It’s an easy, uplifting, good fun nostalgia ride, showing that participating can in fact be more valuable than winning. Fun for the whole family.


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