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.
Having been born in ’92 I missed all this when it happened and though I knew of the name Eddie the Eagle I didn’t really have any idea of who he was! It was the fact that the lovely Taron was starring in it that really pulled me in, and he does not disappoint at all! Taron’s portrayal of Eddie is a very different role from the cool Eggsy in Kingsman but shows us that he could go on to do great things in film. I’m not sure how accurate he is in regards to the mannerisms etc of the real Eddie but from hearing other reviews he seems to have hit the spot in his portrayal. From my perspective though Taron gives us a character that is very easy to fall in love with, his determination to succeed is so enlightening and the fact that it’s not even about winning at the Olympics but simply being able to compete in them is what wins the nation’s hearts.
Directed by Dexter Fletcher and filled with brilliant British actors, Eddie the Eagle is very much a British production proving that you don’t always need Hollywood movie stars to make a film – of course Hugh Jackman does star as Eddie’s coach but the real
performances come from Taron as well as Keith Allen and Jo Hartley as Eddie’s parents Janette and Terry. Both Keith and Jo show perfectly the struggle Janette and Terry went through in order to support Eddie’s dreams but also keep a roof over their heads. It’s because of this that when Eddie’s dreams are realised, and you see his parent’s reactions, that there will definitely be a tear in your eye!
Other brilliant actors that appear are Mark Benton, Tim McInnerny, Jim Broadbent and Christopher Walken, all of which bring different roles giving us drama, laughs and a few touching moments. There’s no denying that the cast are brilliant and it’s great to see some actors that are normally on TV given the chance to shine on the big screen!
Hugh Jackman is of course no stranger to the big screen, and here his character has been added in to the story in order to condense down the actual number of people who helped Eddie. His character Bronson Peary is the former Olympic ski-jumper who was kicked out of the team and now spends the majority of his time drinking. Though at first reluctant to help Eddie out he is soon pulled in by Eddie’s extreme determination and it’s not long before the two form a bond. Hugh and Taron work brilliantly together – something which is obvious off-screen too thanks to many interviews they have done together – and this connection helps to pull in the audience and really support the two of them in their conquest. There are also some very funny moments between the two thanks to a brilliant script!
The best thing about this film is the message that it gives. It’s not about winning for Eddie, it’s literally the taking part and to be able to say he is an Olympic athlete. When all the other competitors are striving for Gold and laughing in his face for even thinking he was anywhere near their league, Eddie is focused and determined to make it into the British team and be given his chance to shine. Eddie faces so many bumps along his journey as Government officials continually brush away his dreams, one example is when Eddie’s maximum jump length is at 30 meters he is told he must jump over 60 meters in order to qualify for the Olympics – a new rule they made up that day – and even though many would give up he doesn’t. The most heart-warming moment in the film comes as he reaches 61 meters and though that is the lowest score by far in the competition his absolute joy in reaching the target and a new personal best brings him to the audience’s attention and from there the nation’s love is born.
Overall Eddie the Eagle is a very funny, enjoyable and inspiring movie for all the family. I would thoroughly recommend you see it as everything from the storyline and the acting to the stunning scenery/special effects makes an incredible film. There is no way that you won’t be willing Eddie to succeed by the end and as the credits role we are given pictures from when the real Eddie competed, making it clear that the joy and determination shown by Taron in the film happened in real life too. This then leaves you with an even greater feeling of warmth and a smile upon your face. Though if you’re anything like me you’ll come away wondering why on earth you would want to be a ski-jumper as it looks positively terrifying!!