Upon hearing the story and seeing the trailer it seemed to me that this film would be a by-the-numbers predictable feel good sports film in the vein of Cool Runnings (1993). Despite talent such as Hugh Jackman and Taron Egerton and director Dexter Fletcher (whose 2011 film Wild Bill I found extremely well made) it was never on my radar as a Must-See or a recommendation I would throw out when asked.
I Was Wrong.
About the second part, not the first, this film is a predictable feel good sports movie (which happens to take place at the same Winter Olympics where the Jamaican Bobsled team debuted) but there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, the talent in front and behind the camera elevate this film to such entertainment and joy that even though I knew what story beats were coming it never bothered me I was fully invested in the story this film was succeeding in telling.
I was unaware of the real life story before seeing this film but after the opening scene watching a 10-year-old Eddie Edwards with a leg brace, a biscuit tin for his medals from his mum, walking to the bus station at night to compete in the 1972 Olympics, I was 100% invested in Eddie’s journey.
Egerton portrays Eddie’s determination and innocence perfectly, you know immediately that you yourself would tell him to give up if you ever met him but every time he defies the impossible you root for him even more. Hugh Jackman portrays the fictional coach Bronson Peary, the former Ski Jump champion who is now a washed up drunk working the snow plough at a German Ski Jump resort. The two have a great camaraderie as Jackman writes off Eddie like everyone else but after watching Eddie’s many failings, he decides to train him to make sure he isn’t killed.
The story then follows its predictable story beats, the rises, the falls, the “evil” Olympic Committee trying to stop Eddie from competing, . You know where this film is going, but the strength of this film is its heart. Fletcher’s direction makes you really care about Eddie and Bronson and the third act brings the emotions as Eddie is put through his greatest trial as he goes to prove to the world once again that he is not a joke.
This third act really elevates this film, its conclusions of its storylines on paper are predictable, again you can tell how it will wrap itself up but the triumph is that you really care, when this film hits it big moments it really hits them and you leave the cinema with a smile on your face and tears in your eyes. Just like its titular character, this film slowly earns its stars, by the end of the first act its three stars, by the end of the second it’s four stars, and when I left this film it was five stars. It builds to such a satisfying conclusion filled with great comedy and love, you can forgive its imperfections and truly imerse yourself in the experience that is “EDDIE THE EAGLE”