"Eddie the Eagle" is a delightful film, based on the true story of Eddie Edwards, a British skier who became the first competitor since 1929 to represent Great Britain in the 1988 Olympics.
These biopics follow a formula - the underdog, adversity, the gruff coach with a heart of gold, more adversity, and finally, triumph.
This biopic is no different. In the film, Eddie has spent a year in the hospital because of bad knees and wears a brace, which is removed in childhood.
Despite this problem, Eddie wants to be in the Olympics. He tries hurdle-jumping and, failing that, decides on speed skiing. He is on a team that is successful locally, but when it comes time to choose skiers for the Olympics, he is not chosen. Undaunted, he decides on ski jumping and sets off for Garmisch, Germany, to train on the course there. He is self-funded, has no coach and emerges a bloody, fractured mess.
Eddie is finally taken on by an ex-ski jumper, the hard-drinking Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman). The British Olympic committee is not impressed with Eddie, and in fact, changes the qualifications for skiing so that he does not qualify. But Eddie isn't about to give up. When he finally qualifies, he's warned by Peary that if he loses, he won't be allowed another chance, and he will not be taken seriously. He wants Eddie to wait until the 1992 Olympics, but Eddie feels this is his moment.
This is an uplifting, inspirational film about never giving up on your dreams. Though we've seen it many times, it's always good to be reminded. Taron Egerton is wonderful as Eddie, who wears thick glasses, puts up with hazing and insults, and stays the course. Hugh Jackman provides some good star power, and as Eddie's mum, Jo Hartley is marvelous. The acting throughout is good, though most of the other characters are stereotypes.
It's hard to say how much dramatic license was taken with this movie - Eddie's bio makes no reference of hospitalization and bad knees as a child, though at the end of the film, there are photos of the real Eddie, and in one, he appears to be on crutches. He was self-funded and he wasn't upper class, which also works against him, and these are brought up in the film.
There is some beautiful ski jumping shown as well.
A good story told with warmth and humor about a man who today, known as Eddie the Eagle, remains a British celebrity.