In 1988, Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards became the first ski jumper to represent Great Britain in the Olympics. Despite being short on funds, long-sighted and handicapped by his weight, he managed to break a ski jump record and capture the hearts of fans worldwide. Plans to develop a biopic were announced in 2007 by Irish director Declan Lowney, but after almost ten years, Wild Bill director Dexter Fletcher takes the helm with Kingsman star Taron Egerton in the main role.
The problem with underdog films is that it leans towards predictability. There is the hero, who struggles to overcome the pressures from peers, as well as meet up to the expectations of their renowned mentors to achieve greatness. Past films such as In and Out, Dodgeball and Real Steel have shown that such films depends on the likeability of its main character, as they need to win the hearts of the audience without succumbing to clichés.
However, Fletcher and screenwriters Simon Kelton and Sean Macaulay focus on the heart and humour of the story, which are delivered in leaps and bounds by Egerton’s performance as the awkward Eddie. Through determination and hope, he stands up against sceptics and snobs of the Olympic world, proving that despite the odds, he can become a competitor. Hugh Jackman’s gruff Brosnan Peary complements Egerton’s eager Eddie, making them an endearing duo that makes the audience want to cheer from the stands.
Overall, Eddie the Eagle is formulaic, heartfelt and full of feel-good vibes.
Eddie the Eagle is out in UK cinemas on 28th March.
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Stars: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Christopher Walken
Runtime: 105 minutes
Country: USA, UK