Eddie Edwards, do you remember him?
Better known as “Eddie the Eagle”, if you were English and of a certain age you certainly would, you could not miss him for a while, now an interesting footnote but “Yuge” at the time.
Eddie (Taron Egerton) is arguably not the sharpest knife in the drawer, nor particularly talented at anything really but what he does have is passion coupled with perseverance, a lethal combination. His well meaning dad “Terry” (Keith Allen) is desperately attempting to squash Eddie a round peg into a square hole as a plasterer, good honest work.
Eddie is having none of it, he wants to be an Olympic athlete, like we all do at 10 but most of us grow out of that, not Eddie.
Having attempted most sports with limited (read no) success, Eddie alights on “Ski Jumper”, a niche sport, tantalisingly with no UK representation, something Eddie is keen to redress.
Cue many, many awkward moments as Eddie realises that perching yourself on a 90 metre slope with skis, before lifting off a cliff edge, is not the safest sport to try.
Eddie needs help, Mum (Hartley) does the supportive mother part, behind Dad’s back of course but Eddie needs someone to teach him how to fly. Maybe a washed up ex star Ski Jumper currently living inside a bottle?
“Bronson Peary” (Jackman) is handily available once Eddie arrives abroad amongst the snow, with no money, equipment or anywhere to stay. Calgary for the 1988 Olympics is his aim, all he has to do is clear a certain distance and he would qualify for the team.
This is an old fashioned story with time-lines, events and even characters almost certainly movie massaged to fit the running time. No matter, the story captures the spirit of the time and man. Quite literally an innocent abroad, from the wrong schools and side of the tracks, shunned by the establishment until they saw how useful he could be.
A media darling at the time, the film needs a strong believable and loveable central character. Director Dexter Fletcher finds one in actor Taron Egerton, unrecognisable both physically and in attitude from his previous “Kingsman: Secret Service James Bond Wannabe” role.
Egerton pitches his performance perfectly, quite an achievement. Whilst we laugh with Eddie, the film never laughs at him, a distinction as wide as his naive optimism and belief he can achieve the impossible.
Jackman brings some star power to the film but is recognisably Jackman which does the film no harm. This is gently humorous film with great characters, an excellent consistent tone and of course an ending predictable from the start.
Look up “feel good movie” in the dictionary and “Eddie The Eagle” will be there. Thoroughly charming, uplifting and just damn good old fashioned fun.