TL;DR – The next time someone tells me they have made/watched a ‘feel good film’ I will ask them if it is as good as Eddie the Eagle, and the answer will be ‘probably not’.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Review – Eddie the Eagle tells the ‘true story’ of Eddie Edwards a British Ski Jumper trying to get into the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. As he fights snobbish British officials, snarky Scandinavian jumpers, and an alcoholic coach, the question – is will he make it!, well, of course, you can cheat and Google the answer ‘cause it is history yo, but let’s not for a moment because this is a truly great little film.
There are so many things this film gets right, and the first thing is the casting. Taron Egerton is perfect as the lead Eddie, showing that his star turn in The Kingsmen was not a once off fluke. The role could not be more different than those that he has done in the past, but Taron perfectly encapsulates the determined yet unlikely character to a tee, showing a real range in his acting. This is really important because given it is pretty much just him propelling the film forward, bad casting here would have crashed it. Hugh Jackman is at his best as the slightly obnoxious ‘sort of’ coach Bronson Peary. Trust me, you will learn more about Hugh than you thought you would at the start of the film … ladies. The rest of the cast is made up with snobbish or helpful Brits depending what the story needs, can we just say the Brits do snobbery really well, it’s almost like they invented it. To finish it off we then have all the perfect human specimens which are of course the Scandinavians, damn Scandinavians and their roguish good looks … we have a history.
The next thing that works is the story, the narrative is really strong with this one. It is a tried and true narrative arc, but it works for a reason, and it has so much heart driving it. When the story needs some tension, it is there, when it needs a laugh, the audience was in stitches, when you need a moment of triumph there it is, and when it needs to hit you in the feels it does. It does take a bit of liberty with history, which is fine, one of my favourite films is The Castle which takes a similar view on ‘based on’ true events, and this allows for a better sequence of events for a movie unlike some other films like Black Mass and Legend. It also does not outstay its welcome which a lot of these biopics tend to do, once again I am looking at you Black Mass. It was a wonderful story that shows you that you can do a story about an earnest underdog without being sickly sweet.
When it comes to the setting, actually filming this in Germany gives the film a bit more substance than what you could achieve on backlot sets. Also as someone who does not like heights, this film encapsulates just what these mavericks are doing when they jump.
That all being said it is not a perfect film, some of the plot beats are quite predictable and the movie does fall back on some of the more overused tropes of the general, so at times instead of going aww, you instead have a slight eye roll. Also while most of the CGI is passable, mostly because they chose to go a more stylistic rather than super accurate effect when rendering the actors on a blue screen. However, there is one crash sequence which looks like they dropped a CGI rag doll down a slope and went ’eh that’ll do’ and the integration with Calgary does not come off completely.
In the end, do I recommend Eddie the Eagle, of course I do, it is a fun heart-warming film that most people will enjoy, give it a watch.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Directed by – Dexter Fletcher
Screenplay by – Sean Macaulay & Simon Kelton
Based on – The life of Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards
Starring – Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Jo Hartley, Keith Allen, Tim McInnerny, Edvin Endre, Mads Sjøgård Pettersen, Rune Temte, Jim Broadbent & Christopher Walken
Rating – Australia: PG; Canada: G; Ireland: 12A; NZ: PG; UK: PG, USA: PG