Think about the last time you saw a movie in the theater where the audience clapped and cheered for the main character- That is the kind of experience you’ll have watching “Eddie the Eagle.” The film is based on the true story of Michael “Eddie” Edwards and his struggle to become Great Britain’s first Olympic ski-jumper in nearly 50 years.
“Eddie the Eagle” is the most inspiring film to hit theaters since “Forrest Gump” in 1994. This is the kind of movie that’ll have you rooting for the main character from the get-go. Eddie Edwards, played by by Taron Egerton, comes from humble beginnings. The odds are always against him, but with hard work, determination and perseverance, he makes his dream a reality. This is a feel good movie with no romance to it, but rather a young man and a father figure relationship.
Not adding a romantic relationship to the film was a smart decision by the director and writers. Often times romance is added to a film to create a plot line, or thought to attract female viewers to a male dominated movie. Romance is a cheap shot to boost rating and this film certainly didn’t need it. They were able to achieve a great plot without romance, along with showing that it can be done.
“Eddie the Eagle” had a refreshing comedic quality to it. At one point Hugh Jackman, who plays Eddie’s mentor, Bronson Peary, sarcastically calls out to Edwards “Hear that? A personal best and we’re still a disgrace!” The humor in this movie was family friendly, although young kids most likely won’t understand the references.
For those who get emotionally invested in a movie character, you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat in constant anticipation. Eddie is extremely likable and relatable to anyone who has ever had a dream, whether they accomplished it or not. Eddie is the underdog that one can’t help but root for.
Jackman’s character, Peary, comes into play about 45 minutes into the film. Peary is a washed up American Olympian who Edwards immediately takes to. With Peary’s devilish good looks and his investment into Edwards, it’s difficult not to like him. Peary is the father figure Edwards never had.
Christopher Walken makes a brief appearance toward the end of film as Peary’s old coach, Warren Sharp. Throughout the film, Peary reads and studies a book that Sharp wrote. It becomes obviously that Peary and Sharp ended their relationship with tension and unresolved feelings. Although hesitant at first, this is the driving force behind Peary taking on the basket case that is Edwards.
Edwards’ mother Janette, who is played by Jo Hartley is steadily supportive of her son from a young age. At one point she goes against her husband and gives Edwards their savings so he can pursue ski-jumping.
Edwards’ father Terry, played by Keith Allen, is one of the evident villains in the film. Although he never jeopardizes his son’s chances, he’s incredibly unsupportive. Given their not so affluent living situation, Edwards’ previous handicap and what it takes to excel at this sport, it’s understandable why Edwards’ father isn’t as optimistic as his mother. His father’s lack of support is ultimately becomes the driving force behind Edwards’ attempt at qualifying for the 1988 Winter Olympics.
The movie is predictable, we’ve seen this plot a thousand times before. The underdog has obstacles keeping him from his goal. He has support, but he also has people in his way, he overcomes these obstacles and defies all the odds. Predictability doesn’t have to be a bad thing. The writers and director did a great job of adding excitement where it was necessary and constantly giving the audience something to look forward to.
Although the film was clearly fabricated beyond what actually happened in Edwards’ life, it made for a great story. Adding Peary and Sharp for dramatic effect, and changing locations to make his journey more exciting, is what sets this film apart from a documentary. In order to get Edward’s story out there, a “based on a true story film” was the best choice. The audience can always do their part and research Edward’s career on their own to get the facts.
This film is unlike any other that’s currently in theaters. It will leave your heart happy and you’ll find yourself quietly or not so quietly, cheering for Edwards along the way. This movie deserves it’s five star rating. The comedy, plot line and cast were all top notch. Someone give these actors an Oscar already.