Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards (played by Taron Egerton) is a well-known sporting figure for anyone aged over 30, so it is a surprise a film about the hapless Olympic ski jumper has not been made before, especially when he featured in the same Olympic Games as the Jamaicans who inspired cult 1994 flick Cool Runnings.
Eddie, real name Michael, grows up with braces on his legs but that doesn’t stop him from dreaming of being an Olympian, ignoring calls from his dad Terry (Keith Allen) to be a plasterer.
He’s good at skiing but the British Olympic Association refuse to take him onboard for the next Winter Olympics. Eddie doesn’t give up so he picks a sport nobody else has been selected for – ski jumping, which he has no experience in.
He travels to Germany to train, but soon realises the dreaded 90 metre jump is far beyond his capabilities. He needs a coach, and fast. In walks fictional Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), a mean, cynical former professional with an axe to grind and an alcohol problem.
Bronson soon helps Eddie get to the qualifying standard needed to compete in the 1988 Calgary Olympics, where he becomes the first ever ski jumper to represent Great Britain, although he infamously comes last.
Keep an eye out for a short appearance from Christopher Walken as Bronson’s old coach.
Eddie has somewhat been a figure of ridicule and it would have been easy to make a comedy about his misguided aspirations, but instead this shows him as a figure of hope and determination.
The young and handsome Egerton was an unexpected casting choice for offbeat Eddie, but manages to convince by altering his jaw, wearing gigantic glasses, a dodgy wig and some questionable facial hair.
He’s funny, energetic and charismatic, the total opposite to Jackman’s Bronson who resembles Wolverine in the attitude stakes. The chemistry between the two is hilarious.
Of course they become best friends and learn valuable lessons from each other, but the constantly feel-good message and positivity may be hard for everybody to swallow.
This is driven home by upbeat music, such as Hall & Oates’ You Make My Dreams Come True, which soundtracks the standout training montage.
This is an inoffensive crowd-pleasing film about having a go and being able to do anything if you want it enough. It is funny, inspiring and leaves you with a beaming smile on your face.
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