Film Review: Eddie the Eagle
You couldn’t ask for a more British sports hero than Eddie Edwards. Born to a working-class family in Cheltenham, Eddie (played by Taron Egerton) dreamed of Olympic stardom and no amount of failure, injury or cruel mocking could dissuade him. I’m sure you’re all waiting for me to reveal that he did make it to the Olympics and won numerous gold medals, but he didn’t. He made it to the Winter Olympics where he competed as a ski jumper and was one of the worst the world’s ever seen. He was, after all, useless. And people loved him for it, because he wasn’t useless, at least not depending on how you look at it, for he showed more resolve, determination and optimism than most of us could ever dream of.
Ironically, Dexter Fletcher’s film was met with similarly low expectations, with most writing it off as a joke. But almost from the opening scene, where a young Eddie (Tom Costello) is submerged in the bath timing how long he can hold his breath in preparation for the Olympics, it stole the hearts of viewers and was rewarded with glowing reviews.
A lot of the reason for this success is owed to Taron Egerton whose awkward charm, kind heart and impenetrable optimism makes it impossible not to fall in love with him. He is supported by no other than Hugh Jackman, who provides extra warmth, humour and drama to the film with his portrayal of Eddie’s fictions alcoholic trainer, Bronson Peary. A former ski jumping star, Bronson disgraced his team and has since found his solace in the bottom of a bottle. His frustration with Eddie is eventually diffused by his unbreakable spirit and together they attempt to achieve the impossible and qualify for the Olympics.
The real winner of the film though, that makes it difficult to imagine anyone hating it, is the sheer feel-good factor. You’ll leave feeling better about the world, better about humanity and prepared to face life’s challenges with humour. After all, “The most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.”