Chronicling the rise and seemingly infinite falls of Britain’s late-1980s working class Winter Olympics hero Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards, this biopic will strike a chord with those who have undertaken any truly arduous journey to self-fulfilment. If they’re ready to overlook the abundant stereotypes and oversimplifications, that is.
Deemed unworthy even by his own father, Eddie encounters plenty of obstacles on his way to his ultimate goal – to compete at the Olympics. And so we see him prove his indefatigable commitment experimenting with virtually every Olympic sport in and outside of the book, from high jump, hurdles and javelin to his eventual game of choice, ski jumping, for at least one fifth of the film. It’s this depiction of tenacity combined with those moments of vindication as he flies through the air amid the Alps and Rockies that effectively sells the underdog sentiment and touches the heart.
Beware, though, of recurring gags featuring Eddie’s mean, flatly portrayed competition, an omnipresent, scenery-chewing Hugh Jackman who has too much fun overacting the alcoholic American coach, as well as cultural caricatures of every type, including Germans as – what else – overly-bureaucratic, sexed-up weirdos.
Eddie the Eagle | Directed by Dexter Fletcher (UK, USA, Germany 2016) with Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman. Starts March 31.