Eddie the Eagle tells the true story of British Olympic Ski jumper Michael Edwards. Britain had not had a ski jumper competing in the Olympics since 1928. But in 1988, Micheal ‘Eddie' Edwards stole the hearts of viewers across the world.
It's fair to say that Eddie Edwards was not the best ski jumper. In fact, he finished in last place for both events. Even though his jumps set a new British record, he was a long way off from the rest of the field. The Ski Jumping establishment and the British Olympic committee saw Eddie's actions as an embarrassment. Shortly after the Calgary Olympics, the International Olympic Committee tightened up the entry requirements so much it made it impossible for anyone to ever compete in this way again.
However, this lovable underdog became the focus of the worlds media. The press loved him and so did the fans. Initially, the focus was firmly placed on Eddie because of how bad he was and how odd he looked. But it was the spirit of the man that shone through brighter than anything else at the 1988 Olympics. His dogged determination to keep doing his best and his over the top celebrations earned him the name Eddie the Eagle. The father of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin once said: “The important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part”. Eddie's appearance at Calgary was the complete embodiment of this.
For me, this was the first film I had seen from Dexter Fletcher and it's fair to say that he does a fantastic job. The camera work is brilliant and he manages to get the very best from the cast. However, it is not just the visuals that keep this film romping along at a great pace. This is a feel-good movie that is matched with wonderfully uplifting music too and certainly is a triumph for Fletcher.
The casting for the film works incredibly well, there is a surprising blend of talent. Taron Edgerton (Robin Hood) pulls off a perfect performance as Eddie the Eagle. Edgerton is famous for his role as a secret agent in Kingsman. So this role displays just how versatile this actor is for what is a very brave role to take on. Jo Hartley and Keith Allan are excellent as Eddie's parents, providing a truly touching performance. Christopher Walken has a small but significant role. But the introduction of Hugh Jackman as Eddie's alcoholic trainer is a complete stroke of genius. Jackman gives a brilliantly powerful performance, that bounces off Egerton's performance amazingly.
This movie was never going to be an Oscar contender. However, it did go on to win the “Truly Moving Picture Award” at the Heartland film festival and this is perfectly fitting. For me, I had completely overlooked this film. But was pleasantly surprised when I did get round to seeing it.
All in all, this is a thoroughly entertaining film. Telling a story of a character who displays the best of the human spirit. A person with a dream who never gave up, similar to the stories in Rising Phoenix, no matter what and won on his own terms. The end result is a wonderful no-nonsense feel-good movie that will make you laugh and cry in equal measure. So if you are looking for something lighthearted that will inspire and lift the soul – I would say give Eddie the Eagle a go.