Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Film: 'Eddie the Eagle'

Even at the height of his national (and, briefly, international) fame in the late 1980s I never bought into the adulation of English amateur ski jumper, Eddie Edwards, who attained quasi-mythical status. Right from the start I'd found him an intensely irritating man, while others at the time cheered on his hopelessly flopped attempts to make a mark in a sport for which he'd had no formal training or even experience, culminating in his participation in the 1988 Winter Olympics at Calgary, Canada. I just wished he'd go away - rather like crabs.
However, it must be said that he did endear himself to many, with his clenched teeth and thrusting-chin determination to succeed. These fans took him to their hearts with what was perceived as a plucky, try-and-try-again spirit - whereas I didn't view him as quite the national embarrassment that some did, rather as just a tiresome individual.

This film, overloaded with sentiment, though very ably accomplished by director Dexter Fletcher (the admirable 'Sunshine on Leith' of 2013), ticks all the right boxes of the threadbare formula in this old-fashioned, 'inspiring' tale of fighting against the odds, despite it being 'based' on Edwards' own story - though how much of the background story is invention I've no idea, and don't really much care.

In the adult title role, Taron Egerton cuts a convincingly gauche figure with single-minded ambition. Having made up his mind to be a ski jumper while still at school, he travels against his parents' wishes (Keith Allen and Jo Hartley) to an Alpine ski training centre in Germany where he meets up with washed-up, alcoholic, chain-smoking, former star skier, Hugh Jackman - though you'd never have guessed, retaining as he does his athletic body and ruggedly handsome looks. The relationship between them follows the predictable path of Jackman's initial animosity, then indifference - and then, recognising Edwards' serious aims, helping him to train, and finally accompanying him on his participation in major events.
Even if you don't know the story you can guess where all this is going - and, no, it's not giving anything away to say that he doesn't win an Olympic medal, but for all the worshipful attention he gets from the media and the public (complete with triumphal music, of course) you'd think he'd come away with a gold.

Towards the end of the film there are a couple of shortish appearances from Christopher Walken, as well as Jim Broadbent as the ski-ing commentator at Calgary.

The audience I watched this with lapped it all up with glee, laughing their heads off every time he clumsily bumped into something or fell over (though not on the actual ski jumps). I felt all this aspect was overplayed for effect.

It just wasn't my type of film. If you liked the character (assuming you even remember him) then you may well be entertained by this. I found it all a bit of a bore........................5. 


  1. I'm surprised you gave it a 5 - I had no desire to see it, as did the vast majority of the movie going people in America.

    1. Yes, I suppose the '5' was pushing it a bit, Dave, but that was my immediate feeling on returning home and I don't change first reaction scores, however tempted.

      I'd read somewhere that it was likely to do quite well in the USA as the American mentality is more inclined to support the little man achieving success over obstacles rather than a common British attitude of sniping, myself being a prime example of the latter. But if, as you say, Americans have cold shouldered it then it just proves how wrong the pundits can be,

  2. I guess this would not pull any heartstrings for me. I don't even remember the guy.

    1. This film would also leave your heartstrings unpulled, Mitch, despite its whole tenor being that he deserved your support, from being a 'lovable scamp' as a kid to being an idealistic Walter Mitty type as an adult. In fact I found myself resisting that very notion as it played.
      I reckon very few would remember him (though I do, clearly). He had his fifteen minutes of fame without doubt, but so what? Let him go - please!