Eddie the Eagle.
I first saw Taron Egerton in Kingsman: The Secret Service last Spring and I had this assumption that he’d become an action star of the future but I didn’t get the feeling that he’d have substantial acting chops. So when I saw the trailers for Eddie the Eagle, I was worried that this might be a suicide move for his career. Was he able to pull it off?
Egerton stars as Eddie Edwards, a British youngster who is obsessed with becoming an Olympian from an early age. He eventually finds out that the UK doesn’t have a ski jump team so he decides to try and qualify, though he discovers that ski jumping is much more difficult and dangerous than he imagined. He’s helped along by a pessimistic former jumper (Hugh Jackman) who stands in as his coach.
Let’s start with the performances. Taron Egerton absolutely nails it. This sort of range really surprised me but he nailed it. I was worried the quirkiness of Eddie might be overdone and make this movie a joke but he handles it with subtlety and proves that he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with someday. I wouldn’t be surprised if he even nabs some awards come next Winter, if people remember this film as a whole.
And then we’ve got Hugh Jackman. He’s likable in every role so it’s no surprise that he also steals the show here too.
Now to zoom out and look at the movie as a whole. Similar to the other recent sports biopic Race, this is a feel good movie and it succeeds as one. The scope of Eddie the Eagle is much more intimate though. There aren’t any Nazis or an entire system of oppression holding Eddie back. He’s just a guy who wants to dream big. The movie tries to make enemies out of the UK government but it’s a bit of a stretch, so the stakes in this movie feel a little low. Regardless, you’re still rooting for the guy and he wins you over.
What doesn’t work?
As I said above, the stakes aren’t huge. The tone of the movie is lighthearted so you know that Eddie won’t get any serious injuries and even if he fails his goal, they mention quite a few times that he can try again at the next Olympics, so there aren’t really any consequences of failure here.
And since the scope of the film is relatively small, I imagine this film will be fairly forgettable for most audiences. It’s good, yes, but that doesn’t always equate to a movie that is memorable. In the genre of “underdog achieves great things,” there are many movies that do it better than Eddie the Eagle.
Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman deliver great performances in this feel-good movie. You’ll laugh and potentially even cry. However the scope of the movie is a little small and the consequences are a little lacking. Otherwise a great time at the theater, if you’re looking for some good solid escapism.