The story of Eddie the Eagle walks a very fine line. As Great Britain’s first competitor in Olympic Ski Jumping, he was pretty much a joke who got in on a technicality, and his media success was as much to do with laughing at him as it was about admiring his pluck. This biopic generally treats him as a have-a-go hero, a man whose commitment to a sporting ideal took him to the top of his profession despite various elitists who tried to keep him down. Which doesn’t really get around the fact that he’s kind of crap.
What saves this film – or at least makes it entertaining in a very clichéd way – is its good-nature. As Eddie (Taron Egerton) is a nice guy with a dream that isn’t hurting anyone (despite the fact that his event often kills people); as his surly, drunk, fictional coach Bronson (Hugh Jackman) gets to do his crowd-pleasing gruff but warm-hearted act. The plot runs on rails, as does Eddie on the training ramps, but director Dexter Fletcher shows flair during the many jumping scenes, conveying both the risks and the thrills (plus the complicated mechanics) of ski jumping. It’s a feel good film about a guy who came last every time.
Reviewed by Anthony Morris