Taron Egerton stars as Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards in Dexter Fletcher’s uplifting and inspirational adaptation of Eddie the Eagle’s journey to the 1988 winter olympics in Calgary.
This is a film full of humour and true heart without being over sentimental or nauseating, which could have been an easy mistake in less talented hands. Hugh Jackman plays Eddie’s fictional coach Bronson Peary is a cynical alcoholic who’s still bitter about his own career going down the drain years earlier, who reluctantly becomes Eddies coach. Which apparently mainly involves graphically teaching Eddie how to pleasure the woman of his dreams (pretty risqué for a PG right?!). It really is a true underdog story of achieving against the odds and proving your doubters wrong. Yes, I know this makes it sound horribly cheesy with all the ‘follow your dreams’ bullshit but its so well written and performed it doesn’t come across that way. It’s a genuinely uplifting comedy.
This film has a hell of a lot of charm and this is initially thanks to the two young actors who play heartwarmingly try-hard younger versions of Egerton’s Eddie, who spend most of their time breaking their glasses. The film, set in the 1980s in the lead up to the ’88 winter olympics is nicely stylised to feel so from the music choices to the retro graphics which adds to the overall warmth of the film.
Taron Egerton, best known for Kingsman: The Secret Service, really impresses as Eddie and shows off his range as an actor. It would be easy for him to do an impression of Eddie or make a caricature out of him. But he doesn’t. It’s a truly brilliant and moving performance capturing the spirit of the film. Jackman also puts in a strong performance as Peary and he’s a great foil to the ambitious, optimistic and maybe naive Eddie.The chemistry between the two leads is great which leads to some genuinely hilarious moments, including the aforementioned sex-bit. Very awkward.
It’s refreshing actually to watch a sports film which isn’t all about the pathetic masculinity of glory and triumph but is rather about just doing the best you can and pushing your own boundaries. There’s a nice, if weird (there’s a Finnish kid with a mullet), scene towards the end which captures this nicely. It’s very ‘Cool Runnings’ in that respect and there’s a nice easter egg in there as reference to the Jamaican bobsled team who competed at the same games in Calgary.
My one and only issue and it’s only a small one at that is that some of the antagonistic characters are very caricature-esque and seem to have no real reason to be that way other than the plot demands it. But hey, who cares? It’s not really about that.
This film is a story about facing adversity and doing what ever the hell you want to do regardless of what other people say you can’t or shouldn’t do. And that’s a great message. Unless you plan on killing people or something. You definitely shouldn’t do that. But if you want to go to the olympics, bloody go for it.
GREAT. A thoroughly enjoyable, laugh out loud, uplifting film packed full of talent. Go and see it!