Eddie the Eagle is a film based on the life of Michael “Eddie” Edwards, an English ski jumper who dreamt of competing in the 1988 Calgary Olympics. Starring Taron Egerton as the titular bird, Eddie the Eagle is all about determination, sportsmanship and reaching for the sky.
Eddie the Eagle is such a feel-good film: as we follow him from his childhood dream of being an Olympian to actually competing in the Olympics, Eddie never gives up, never doubting his skills but also being realistic about how good he actually is. Plagued by dodgy knees from his childhood and ignored because of his working class background, Eddie faces so much doubt from others about his skills – the British Olympic Committee, the European ski jumpers he meets as he trains for the Olympics, even his own father (Keith Allen) – but he just keeps going, through every injury and setback, determined to make it to the Olympics. And even though it’s a little cheesy at times, you become so invested in the story of this lovable underdog that, even though you know there’s no way he can win, you can’t help but think that his sheer determination will put him at the top of the leader board. But for Eddie, competing at the Olympics isn’t about winning a gold medal – it’s just about competing at all, and being proud of yourself and what you’ve achieved.
Though the film does take some creative licence on what happened, the script is tight, with a great, well rounded story and well-paced, clean yet witty humour. The compelling story of determination in the face of defeat is relatable because the characters feel so real, brought to us by a brilliant cast. Taron Egerton simply IS Eddie, especially in his mannerisms and facial expressions, and in showing the soft, lovable side of Eddie he also shows off his great acting range, making us forget about all his other performances. Egerton’s goofier, sweeter character is well complemented by Hugh Jackman as his tough-love coach, Bronson Peary; the two have such great chemistry, both emotionally but especially comedically, and the scenes where Peary teaches Eddie how to fly and land are the funniest in the whole film. Hugh Jackman’s star power also doesn’t overshadow Egerton, but supports it to greater heights, and the two work so well together. Eddie’s mum and dad, played by Jo Hartley and Keith Allen, are also great, providing Eddie with both tough love and support to reach his goals.
The original point of the Olympic Games, as set out by Olympic father Pierre de Coubertin, was: “The important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part.” Eddie the Eagle is a film that embodies this spirit; as Eddie follows his dreams and makes it to the Olympics, we too are inspired to go for our dreams and do the things we love, no matter what our skill set or what others say. With a stellar cast and a great story full of heart, Eddie the Eagle is a film that will make you want to reach for the sky.
Here’s my list of the top five films starring the cast of Eddie the Eagle:
- Kingsman: the Secret Service – Taron Egerton
- X-Men (the first one) – Hugh Jackman
- Trainspotting – Keith Allen
- Blackadder – Tim McInnerny
- Les Miserables – Hugh Jackman