It’s amazing this triumph-against-the-odds tale has taken so long to be adapted for the big screen. Born to a working class family, Eddie has big dreams to one day compete at the Olympics. When he misses inclusion in the British Olympic downhill skiing team, he instead sets about trying to qualify for competition as a ski jumper despite being a complete novice.
What he lacks in experience, Eddie makes up in grit, determination and unwavering courage. And this earns him the respect of a coach, his competitors and the Olympic audience, setting him on the path to realise his dream.
This British production is helmed by Dexter Fletcher (Wild Bill, Sunshine on Leith) and features Taron Edgerton as Eddie and Hugh Jackman as his washed up (and boozed up) mentor and coach. But the story is pure Hollywood – taking more than a few liberties with Eddie’s extraordinary life, and populating it with paint-by-numbers supporting characters; the disapproving Dad, the doting Mum and the sauna-loving Norwegian competition.
Edgerton is the stand-out, capturing Eddie’s awkwardness and mannerisms, contorting his face with the trademark underbite and embodying a man who was the talk of many living rooms in 1988. And Jackman is earnest in his role as fictional coach Bronson Peary, grizzled and driven to the bottle by his own failed career (though his American accent is no more believable here than it is as Wolverine)
However, the essence of Eddie’s inspiring story shines through, and like the man himself, you can’t help but fall in for the infectious optimism and moxie. A memorable soundtrack orchestrates training montage after training montage, and Fletcher puts the camera to good use, beautifully capturing the rush and thrill of ski-jumping – approaching the jumps from all angles, and making the audience feel battered and bruised with every inevitable crash.
All in all, a solid and sentimental family comedy, which hopes to soar like an eagle, but ends up happy just to stick the landing.
Eddie The Eagle is out on Blu-ray and DVD Wednesday 3 August, or get it now on iTunes!