"I've been kicked off every team before I even got a chance to prove myself."
“Eddie the Eagle” tells the inspiring true story of Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards (Taron Egerron), a young man whose lifelong dream has been to be an Olympian, representing his country. Despite physical set backs, as well as a distinct lack of talent in most sports, Eddie finds his niche and aims to becoming England’s first Olympic ski jumper. With the help of an unorthodox coach (Hugh Jackman), and a lot of heart, Eddie sets his sights for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
Much like its titular character, “Eddie the Eagle” is all heart. Knowing its limitations and its strength the film plays perfectly as a true underdog story, layering in an almost saccharine level of sentimentality to its narrative. This isn’t to its determinant though as the film very clearly intends to be a call back to the classic sporting films of the 1980s. I’m not talking about films like “Chariots of Fire” or “The Natural” but rather ones like “The Karate Kid”, “Rudy” and even “Major League”, and in aiming to ape this specific style of filmmaking “Eddie the Eagle” definitely wins gold.
The film is anchored by its wonderful and charming performances by Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman who very clearly know the type of film they're making and play it big and broad while still managing to maintain a sense of grounded realism to their performances. Egerton makes you believe in the spirit and passion that drives Eddie which in turn helps to contrast and humble the arrogance and bravado of Jackman’s coach. There does seem to be a bit of a missed opportunity with Jim Broadbent and Christopher Walken popping up in severely underused supporting roles, however, that being said, too many secondary characters could have worked against the piece in detracting from Eddie and the real focus of the narrative.
Director Dexter Fletcher and producer Matthew Vaughn have crafted a highly entertaining, crowd-pleasing film that is sure to capture the imagination and sense of fun of most audience members. While it never attempt to delve too deep into the characters or present a challenging narrative for its audience, the film never gives you a sense it’s trying to be anything more than some simple, light fun and in a time when cinemas are filled with bleak and dark blockbuster this entertaining schmaltz is a warm and welcome change.
7 our of 10.
Reviewed by Chris Swan.