Eddie the Eagle

Posted February 18, 2016 by in

Quick Stats

Genre: sports, biopic, comedy
Director: Max Fletcher
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Actors: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Christopher Walken
Length: 105 minutes
Release Date: 2-26-2016
Studio: Marv Films, Saville Productions, Studio Babelsberg
What We Thought

A light-hearted, feel-good 80’s nostalgia flick, the film is a gleeful celebration of the sports genre itself.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
Eddie the EagleOf all the genres, sports movies are my least favorite.  Consider that when I say this:  I got a kick out of Eddie the Eagle.  A light-hearted, feel-good 80’s nostalgia flick, the film is a gleeful celebration of the sports genre itself.
     The story is loosely based on the life of Michael “Eddie” Edwards, later known as “Eddie the Eagle” after his performance for the British team at the 1988 Winter Olympics.  He came in dead last, yet became a hero to many.  Why?  Because everyone said he would fail, but he tried anyway.
     We admire people more for trying than their successes (as it happens, this is Pixar’s #1 rule of storytelling), which is why Eddie the Eagle is such an inspiring story.  He had little funding and zero sponsorship, but what he did have was boundless determination and an indomitable spirit.  Whether he won the gold or not was beside the point, is the film’s message.
     Eddie is portrayed by Taron Egerton, who starred in last year’s Kingsman:  The Secret Service (which was produced by the same studio as this movie, Marv Films).  In the jerky, clumsy way he walks and moves, Edgerton makes Eddie’s lack of physical coordination a crucial part of the role:  he is a non-athlete, trying to be an Olympian.
     When he narrowly fails to make the downhill skiing team, Eddie decides to give ski jumping a try, a dangerous sport that most athletes train for starting from early childhood.  While hitting the ramps (and tumbling down and falling on his face), Eddie meets Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), an alcoholic yank who was once an Olympic ski jumper himself.  Peary reluctantly agrees to give Eddie a few tips, if only to stop him from accidentally killing himself on the slopes.
     The character of Peary is a fiction.  In real life, Eddie went through several coaches.  Did Eddie really wear Eddie the Eagleleg braces as a child, as he does in the film?  I do not know.  Was his father (Keith Allen) discouraging from a young age, while his mother (Jo Hartley) was in his corner?  Maybe, maybe not.  Reportedly, much of this account is made up, but that’s a good thing.  Eddie the Eagle is a biopic rather than a documentary, which means that the details are in service of the story, rather than the other way around.  Eddie the Eagle is not a factual account, but an inspiring story based on the real courage of a real man.
     It’s also really funny and surprisingly exciting.  Director Dexter Fletcher builds tension before Eddie’s jumps, then puts us in right in his shoes as he sleds down the ramp and soars up, up, up in the air.  It’s an exhilarating experience.  It’s no wonder why Eddie took such enjoyment in the sport.  That same joy is captured in the movie itself.
     The film ends on a message that goes beyond athletics, that is broader than that — and most importantly, life-affirming.  Stories like Eddie’s are important because they give hope.    Perhaps we’re not the best at everything, or anything.  People will say you can’t, or that you’re not good enough.  But is that any reason to stop you from doing what you do, and enjoy doing it?  Of course not.  Don’t be silly.  4 out of 5 stars.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.


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