Eddie the Eagle (2016) – movie review


Eddie the Eagle is a semi-biographical film about the journey of one infamous Eddie Edwards, an olympic ski-jumper who was the only British ski-jumper to compete in the Olympics since the 1920s. His father doesn’t believe in him, the British Olympic association doesn’t believe in him and his coach doesn’t believe in him. So basically no one believes in him but he’s going to try anyway. And that’s the story of Eddie the Eagle. Kind of. It’s getting some bad press for being semi-fictional.

The story of Eddie the Eagle is a fairly generic story as far as sports movies go; young hopeful attempts sport, young hopeful fails at sport, young hopeful doesn’t give up, young hopeful keeps trying, young hopeful gets an opportunity and young hopeful succeeds in opportunity. Except the ending is a little different in Eddie the Eagle and if you were alive in the late ’80s you may know what’s different about the story.

I’ll just say that it’s best to not know the real story of Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards as there was a slight extra quality to this film in not knowing whether he would succeed or not.

One quality that Eddie the Eagle holds over many sports movies is that it doesn’t require any expectations of glory or triumph. I am quite reluctant to watch most sports movies as they tend to follow the same formula which will ultimately be acclaimed due to a singular scene where an A-list actor portraying a willing coach delivers a powerful motivational speech. Whereas Eddie the Eagle isn’t about a team and their coach as much as it is about Eddie and his friend. Who is also his coach.

Eddie the Eagle also contains a much greater sense of watchability than most sports films I’ve seen, creating a sense of home in the somehow non-homey location of the Olympic jumping slopes.

Taron Egerton portrays the titular British Olympian and he portrays him brilliantly. I thought that I’d be overthrown by the fact that I saw him in Kingsman a year prior but thanks to makeup, a wig and some surprisingly good facial movement, I was convinced that I was watching Eddie and not Taron.

Hugh Jackman plays Eddie’s coach who was an ex-Olympic ski-jumper and he is not real. I Googled it half an hour ago and his character is completely fictional. According to screenwriter Sean Macaulay, the fictional coach Bronson Preary is a mix of apparent qualities that lay within the two Americans who actually coached Eddie.

Despite the character being fictional in a supposed “biographical” feature, he was somewhat needed. Hugh Jackman’s performance provided a sense of friendship you don’t tend to find in most sports movies and I’m glad they wrote him in.

Yesterday, I wrote a review for The Jungle Book which contained a surprisingly good performance from Christopher Walken as King Louie. Little did I know when writing that review, that Walken would appear with a sense of surprise in yet another film released this week. Walken has a small role in Eddie the Eagle which isn’t nearly as good as his in The Jungle Book mainly because in The Jungle Book, I was invested that I was watching King Louie rather than a gigantopithecus with the voice of Walken whereas in Eddie the Eagle, I felt I was watching Walken. I was still excited though because you know… it’s Walken.

The story of Eddie the Eagle involves a lot of pain, a lot of falling from great heights, a lot of crashing on hard snow, basically a lot of pain inflicted towards Eddie. There isn’t any violence perse inflicted upon Eddie but there is a lot of nature or sport related pain so if you happen to prefer less of that, don’t watch Eddie the Eagle.

The story may be slightly generic and slightly non-factual but despite these faults, I really enjoyed Eddie the Eagle.

There is some great chemistry between Eddie and his fictional coach, the direction is standard but it fits perfectly for the tone of the movie, there is a greater sense of watchability than in most sports movies, the story contains slight changes to the generic formula of most sports films and the performances were great. And Walken. He makes every movie better.

What did you think of Eddie the Eagle? Leave your comment on the side and don’t forget to follow my Instagram page for movie posters.


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