Director: Dexter Fletcher
Writer: Sean Macaulay (screenplay), Simon Kelton (screenplay), Simon Kelton (story)
Stars: Tom Costello, Jo Hartley, Keith Allen, Dickon Tolson
Runtime: 106 min
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama
Released: 26 Feb 2016
Synopsis: Inspired by true events, Eddie the Eagle is a feel-good story about Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Taron Egerton), an unlikely but courageous British ski-jumper who never stopped believing in himself – even as an entire nation was counting him out. With the help of a rebellious and charismatic coach (played by Hugh Jackman), Eddie takes on the establishment and wins the hearts of sports fans around the world by making an improbable and historic showing at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. From producers of Kingsman: The Secret Service, Eddie the Eagle stars Taron Egerton as Eddie, the loveable underdog with a never say die attitude.
Eddie the Eagle (Grint) is a very British hero, i.e., not very good, goofy and endearing. The film plots Eddie’s entry as the only British ski jump competitor in the 1988 Calgary Olympics. Easily the worst competitor, Eddie becomes a fan favourite. His path to glory is strewn with anecdotal stories, slapstick moments and other antics.
To paraphrase Eddie, “I realised two years before the Olympics that I might be able to get to Calgary because no one else was going to apply and so started training. I got a lot of advice from Austrian and French ski-jumping coaches, but because I can’t speak French or German, a lot of it went over my head.”
A legend was born.
Review: Eddie the Eagle is a classic “underdog overachieves” sports story complete with all the trappings. It’s the kind of film that pulls out all the stops to get an applauding audience to its feet. Terms like “feel good” and “upbeat” apply. Director Dexter Fletcher’s biopic is warm and cuddly and largely without villains. It’s all about beating the odds, overcoming the system, and attaining one’s dream. Like the real Eddie’s 1988 Olympic experience, however, the movie’s memory is likely to fade fast.
As those who watched the Calgary Olympics may remember, Eddie became an international celebrity – not because he won anything but because he failed spectacularly. He didn’t have an “agony of defeat” moment but, as the lone British skiing long-jumper in competition, he finished last in both the 70m and 90m events. He was feted for his exuberance and antics, which appealed to the predominantly Canadian and U.S. crowds. One could almost wonder whether this was part of the birth movement of reality TV: following individuals with charisma and drive instead of those with innate talent. In the late 1980s, Eddie was a controversial figure in ski jumping circles; new rules were devised to eliminate the possibility of another such “black eye.” Indeed, despite trying three more times (in 1992, 1994, and 1998), Eddie was unable to qualify for another Olympics.