Eddie the Eagle, like the titular ski jumper, dreams big but ultimately fails to stick the landing, delivering an enjoyable, if ultimately forgettable, experience.
Nominally based on the real life Michael Edwards this highly romanticised ‘biopic’ stars Taron Egerton as Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, a plucky British ski jumper who dreams of representing his country in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.
The only problem is poor Eddie can barely ski in a straight line, let alone jump. Thankfully, Hugh Jackman’s on hand as Bronson Peary – a washed up drunken ski jumper – to train the lucky loser to soar.
Readers here in Blighty will no doubt be familiar with the escapades of our most notorious Olympian, but for those overseas, Eddie became something of a national treasure after his performance at the Calgary Olympics, embodying that peculiar plucky underdog characteristic that we Brits love to say sums up our national identity.
And it’s when the film handles the idea of the underdog that it’s at its strongest, effectively demonstrating throughout that it’s not what you achieve which defines you, but instead that you’re defined by the struggle.
It’s a noble idea and the movie’s heart is most definitely in the right place, it’s just a shame that the director couldn’t think of a less clichéd way of telling the story.
Seriously, name an inspirational movie trope and it’s in this film – from the cartoonishly evil Olympic official who’s so determined to keep Eddie out of the events that I was honestly shocked he didn’t resort to out and out murder, all the way to the dramatic third act crisis of confidence which (spoiler) Eddie manages to overcome by beating the incredible odds to ‘wow’ the world.
Both Egerton and Jackman convince as their two characters.
Egerton’s Eddie has an incredible vulnerability to him but with an inner resolve and a lovable nature that made me forgive some of the film’s more ropey scenes.
Meanwhile, the ever reliable Hugh Jackman delivers a good, if pretty standard, performance as the cocksure (and entirely fictional) Bronson, whose befuddlement with the bungling Eddie delivers the majority of the movie’s laughs.
However, even these two veteran actors can’t resolve my major problem with the film that, like a popular cola brand, it’s far too sweet and saccharine for my tastes.
There’s no shade to the light, and that’s fine, the film isn’t here to give us the true life story of Eddie. But, after a while, I began to find its constant upbeat tone cloying rather than feelgood.