March 2016 - Now Showing: Eddie the Eagle
They had me at, “From the producers of Kingsman: The Secret Service.” I had the opportunity to check out a special screening of the upcoming movie Eddie the Eagle. Eddie the Eagle is based on the true story of Michael Edwards, better known as Eddie Edwards, the British skier who, in 1988, became the first competitor to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping. Taron Egerton, who played Eggsy in the action hit Kingsman, impressed me as Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, transforming himself from the sexy, fitted-suit-wearing spy to the awkward, geeky, and far-from-athletic Edwards. Sporting a twisted posture and a huge underbite, Egerton is this innocent man-child.
Not the average-looking athlete, Edwards is determined to be an Olympian, despite everyone around him, including his own father, telling him otherwise. After being denied a place on the Olympic ski team, Edwards discovers that he can still make it to the Olympics as a ski jumper, a category that no other athlete was competing in. The change in sport leads to a long line of challenges, including the British Olympic Committee changing the rules, almost preventing him from competing. But with the help of his reluctant coach, Bronson Peary (played by Hugh Jackman), a former Olympic ski jumper now driving a snowplow in Garmisch, Edwards prevails.
There are moments in the film that made me question what the true end game is with Eddie and his dream of competing. Is the film about him taking to the slopes to become an amusing media sensation for a brief 15 minutes of fame, or is it about Eddie showing that rare, do-or-die spirit that only a handful of athletes have shown in the history of the Olympics? In the end, Edwards, who became a laughingstock in the process, surprised Olympics officials and attendees alike by showing what he is truly made of.
In this day and age of remakes, Eddie the Eagle is a refreshing change of pace. Many are familiar with the story, and thanks to YouTube and Wikipedia, you can get the breakdown of Edwards’ history. But with Dexter Fletcher’s directing, Egerton’s acting style, and a terrific soundtrack, the viewer is taken on a powerful journey - feeling every rejection Eddie feels and the impact of every time he crashes. This movie leaves you cheering on Eddie from beginning to end. ***½