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Dan's Review: "Eddie The Eagle" has its charms

Feb 26, 2016 12:52AM ● Published by Dan Metcalf

Hugh Jackman and Taron Egerton in Eddie the Eagle

Eddie The Eagle (20th Century Fox)

Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material, partial nudity and smoking.

Starring Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Jo Hartley, Keith Allen, Tom Costello, Jack Costello, Tim McInnerny, Mark Benton, Edvin Endre, Temteas Bjørn, Iris Berben, Jim Broadbent, Christopher Walken.

Written by Sean Macaulay and Simon Kelton.

Directed by Dexter Fletcher.

GRADE: B+

REVIEW:

In most people’s lives, there comes a time when you let go of your delusions and pursue practical means of survival. For others, it takes a little more time, effort and experience to move on. The (mostly) true story of Michael “Eddie The Eagle” Edwards depicts a man who refused to let go of his Olympic dream, even at great cost to his health and well-being.

Taron Egerton plays Eddie, a young British man who dreams of becoming an Olympic athlete. When he just misses the cut for the Olympic ski team, Eddie decides to take up ski jumping. His mom (Jo Harltey) is always supporting of Eddie’s goal, but his dad (Keith Allen) tries to get his son wake up to reality. Eddie decides to move to Europe and train on his own, where he meets (fictional) Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), a former champion ski jumper who washed out from the sport due to his wild ways. After crashing and burning on the ramps, Bronson eventually agrees to train Eddie, who faces long odds to qualify for the games and an British Olympic committee that doesn’t want him.

Despite all the odds, Eddie makes it to the 1988 Calgary games, where he gains instant celebrity for his out-of-the-ordinary style and dreadful results.

Eddie The Eagle is a crowd-pleasing movie that will make you cheer for the hapless dreamer in all of us. Eddie’s rise to fame by placing dead last (by a long margin) in an international sporting event is one of those oddities that you used to see in TV news stories. Nowadays, TV and the Internet are full of oddities and “reality” shows that obscure genuine folks like Eddie, who only wanted to live his dream of competing in the Olympics. It’s that spirit of competition that shines in the movie, even though writers Sean Macaulay and Simon Kelton took a lot (and I do mean a LOT) of liberties with the facts surrounding Eddie’s real quest.

The biggest falsehood in the movie is Jackman’s character, pouting around a ski jump wearing nothing but a flannel shirt, blue jeans and an attitude. He’s supposed to be hybrid of two Americans who helped train Eddie in Lake Placid, and it seems the writers and director Dexter Fletcher were just looking for a way to include a superstar in their movie.

Taron Egerton’s portrayal as Eddie also seems a little forced at times, with the young actor going to extreme contortions to protrude his chin out to overcome his chiseled looks into the goofy everyman who is Eddie Edwards. Rupert Grint was once slated to play Eddie, and would have been a much better choice.

Even with its creative use of facts, Eddie The Eagle is a fun movie that will make you admire one athlete who refused to give up.


Eddie The Eagle Trailer

Arts+Entertainment movies movie reviews Olympics
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