Eddie the Eagle (2016)
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Director: Dexter Fletcher
Cast: Taron Edgerton, Hugh Jackman, Tim McInnerny, Jo Hartley, Christopher Walken
Eddie the Eagle is story telling at its finest. It’s a brilliantly directed film which convinces the audience that Eddie Edwards (Taron Edgerton) is a hero, an inspiration when in reality he is a very sub-par athlete. One of the most important aspects of film making is storytelling and it can make a character go from zero to hero. By the end of the movie you end up rooting for Eddie as he relentlessly chases his Olympic dream.
Eddie Edwards, born to Janette (Jo Hartley) and Target Edwards (Tim McInnerny) has a lifelong dream to go to Olympics. He has many detractors (including his parents) as they believe it’s a foolish dream and constantly advice against it. But so big is his desire to be in Olympics is that he tries his hand in every possible sport and fails in all of them before fixating and to an extent excelling in skiing. He gets rejected in the national trials but by chance discovers that he can compete as a ski jumper- being the only participant. He goes to Germany and starts learning Ski jumping on his own (after being ridiculed by seasoned professionals and coaches who have been training for this since they were 6.)
After much falling and bruising he meets Peary (Hugh Jackman), a former American ski jumper, now an alcoholic who reluctantly agrees to teach him. Every try, every round he comes last and hence almost all the time his competition is himself. His target is always to break his personal best and of course his triumphs are followed by crazy celebrations. His zest for life and endless optimism is endearing and he quickly becomes the most sought out athlete in the tournament. Many athletes believe his antics are mocking their achievements and that he doesn’t belong here but as the founder of Olympics once famously said “all sports for all people”. Oh hell, even I am rooting for Eddie.
Taron Edgerton is believable in his role as Eddie and Hugh Jackman adds his charm and gives Eddie the Eagle a warm feeling. But acting and actors have a limited part when the whole momentum is carried by the script. This is one of those rare films where you are thrilled despite knowing the outcome and are left with a warm happy feeling at the end.
I’ll sign off by a quote by Pierre de Coubertine ”The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well”
Watch Eddie the Eagle and share if you agree.