By Saul Blackwell
Starring: Taron Egerton (Kingsmen: The Secret Service) & Hugh Jackman (Everything, just everything, not Samuel L. Jackson everything but you should really know who he is by now)
Rated: PG contains language & sexual references
Dur: 106 mins
I roughly remember the real-life events surrounding Eddie the Eagle in the 1988 Winter Olympics, I was only a kid at the time so it’s more a feeling than a memory but that feeling is beloved. At a time when the world was in economic crisis and NZ especially was suffering massive unemployment, Eddie was a working class stiff that took on the wealthy sport of ski jumping and became a hero to the average person on the street. So with that sense of goodwill I was really looking forward to seeing this film and I wasn’t disappointed.
Taron Egerton does a great job playing the shy and socially awkward but determined Eddie, a role a millions miles away from his portrayal of the streetwise Eggsy from Kingsmen: The Secret Service. In fact he’s changed his appearance and physical bearing so much you’d be hard pressed to recognise him as the same person. Hugh Jackman is his usual charming and loveable self, even while he’s playing an alcoholic narcissist you can’t help but root for him. And Jo Hartley & Keith Allen do a wonderful job as Eddie’s, respectively, overly supportive and overly critical parents adding a touch of humour whenever they appear.
It’s impossible not to compare Eddie the Eagle to Cool Runnings the 1993 film about the Jamaican bobsledding team that also competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics (and obviously had a better agent since they got their film 23 years earlier) and the reason is fun. Both these films embrace the ludocracy of their subjects and run with it. Highlighting the craziness of even attempting their goals with humor and outlandishness, which makes the setbacks all the more painful and achievements all the more powerful.
I’ve seen a lot of sport based films over the years and they follow a simple premise, underdog/s have to overcome huge obstacle/sto become the best at sport. All the while moping around being very serious about sport... and life.. but mainly sport. This is not that film. The difference is joy. The joy of doing something you love. The joy of defying the expectations of others. The joy of achieving your dreams.
All in all, this is a fun little film that takes you on a powerful emotional journey and is great for all the family.