Eddie The Eagle - The Riles Review

Updated on April 22, 2016

Sports Biopics have a tendency to all come across the same. You’ve got your player or your team in the sticks and it’s only some unorthodox coaching and huge amounts of spirit that’ll break the funk. Eddie The Eagle is effectively the quintessential sports biopic. If we had to send a capsule into space because aliens requested knowledge of how we portray our sports and sports heroes that are outside of the norm and we only had 103 minutes of space left in the capsule, we’d send Eddie the Eagle. Or Cool Runnings. But for what it is, Eddie the Eagle is a heartwarming story that’s quite funny and sweet all the way through.

Eddie Edwards has grown up being told he’ll never be an athlete, but he’s never let it deter him from his one dream, to be an Olympian. When his dreams of skiing in the Winter Games are shattered, the world of ski jumping reveals itself to him, and he’s compelled to compete.

For the 103 minute run time it doesn’t feel like a single minute is wasted. Transitions are quick, and morose moments never linger for too long. The story churns along fairly quickly. This works really well because the movie never leaves you massive amounts to digest either, so when it’s ready to move on so are you. I don’t think it follows the Edwards narrative to the letter, but not that it matters because the movie is quite good at setting up the dramatic moments, and even better at raising it back up for the powerhouse victory moments. And it should be worth noting that this isn’t aimed at people looking for a real rough and guts sort of story. This is upbeat, charming and I would say has a healthy appeal for kids more than adults. The message is fantastic, it’s not all about winning or something. And the film perfectly conveys that message, especially in the last act.

"I know it's a locker room, but would a towel kill you?"
"I know it's a locker room, but would a towel kill you?" | Source

The film does suffer slightly at certain points. Some of the CGI can fall flat and look a little jarring, especially during some crashes. It breaks the momentum of the film sometimes. Some of the humour of the film comes from particular moments where they have captions on screen, but instead of being funny, the constant use of the captions feels like its undermining the intelligence of the audience. But if it is aimed at kids, I guess I’m just proving I’m smarter and more of a wanker than the kids in the audience.

I don’t know how close to the character Taron Egerton actually hits, but his interpretation of Eddie is warm, clumsy and gorgeous. He makes Eddie a character you’d really want to root for, and he never sets him up to be laughed at in a malicious way. He is the perfect underdog. Hugh Jackman is equally good as the fictional coach Bronson Peary. His redemption story is quite good, if overlooked slightly by the film. Jackman makes his character arc not only fun to watch, but satisfying at the end of the film. The supporting cast are good, but you don’t see much of them anywhere. They all pack a punch when they need to, and there's definitely a bit more fun to be had with Eddie's parents. But as a whole, this is a Jackman and Egerton show, and they are great in their roles. As a pair they're really funny to watch, and as a mentor and student duo they're fantastic as well.

Wrapping it up...

Eddie the Eagle is a film that is blisteringly positive. So if you were looking to get depressed and revel in the failure of someone else then this isn’t the movie for you, because that would be impossible to do. The film does everything it can to lift you up, and it does a pretty good job of that. Whether or not this is historically accurate is irrelevant, because this is a movie, and it's intention is to elicit emotions, which it does a splendid job of. For a nice uplifting hour and then some, look no further.

Eddie The Eagle - 7.5/10


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