Worth it alone for the 80s soundtrack
Spring can be an odd time of year for film. The worthy-but-heavy roster of award season movies is now well and truly behind us, but the summertime parade of blockbusters, comedies and retro remakes (hello Independence Day and Ghostbusters) is still gearing up. So what to go and see in the meantime?
Enter Eddie The Eagle, a gloriously silly Brit-flick about the real life Cheltenham plasterer turned ski jumper Eddie Edwards, who against all odds made it all the way to the 1988 Winter Olympics. If you’re past a certain age, you’ll know the full story of Eddie, who never won any medals but with a relatively tiny amount of training (as the film points out, most ski jumpers start training at the age of 5) won the hearts of the British press and public as the relentlessly cheerful Olympic underdog.
Kingsman‘s Taron Egerton is the perfect choice to play Eddie, which he does with a skilled comic mimicry that feels warm rather than cartoonish. The story is told chronologically, following a slightly dorky young Eddie as he breaks free, Billy-Elliot style, from the working class family tradition of plastering to compete in the Winter Olympics. There’s even a subtle reference to Billy Elliot when Eddie protests to his father that at least he’s not going to be a ‘ballet dancer.’
Eddie’s journey to the Olympics is driven by an almost deranged determination to succeed, despite having no coach, funding, previous jumping experience and some hilariously shonky ski gear (including a pair of goggles tied on with string).
Bringing the on-screen yin to Egerton’s comic yang is Hugh Jackman as the jaded alcoholic ex-ski jumper Bronson Peary, who reluctantly agrees to give Eddie some training – mostly to prevent him incurring a fatal injury.
The pair elevate what could have so easily been a thin slapstick comedy into a heart-warming British movie, supported by a truly excellent 80s soundtrack and a (slightly bizarre) cameo apperance from Christopher Walken.
As Taron Egerton pointed out to us