Movies like this are a dime a dozen and to succeed they must overcome the predictability factor and compensate the audience with the right amount of sentimentality. We love underdog stories because we can relate to the characters. We've seen people rise up against adversity in countless films like COOL RUNNINGS, GLORY ROAD and HOOSIERS, and despite knowing precisely where the film is going and how it will end, these characters represent the good in humanity and give hope to those who struggle.
Such films are always inspired by true events and major creative-licence is taken for maximum impact. EDDIE THE EAGLE is exactly that. It tells the story of Michael Edwards, a British ski-jumper who defied all odds to pursue his dream of becoming an olympic competitor. The narrative of his real-life story is entirely different to what the film depicts, and so it's best to approach this one with a generous suspension of disbelief.
Edwards is played by Taron Egerton, who previously starred in KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE, and if you thought he was good in that film then you are going to be blown away by his performance in this one. He has found - and tapped into - the humility and pride that Eddie personified. His turn as the unlikely hero is humble and kind-hearted, and he oozes sincerity. Were it not for his stellar performance, the film would have unquestionably fallen into the “miss” side of the scale. Hugh Jackman lends his support as Eddie's trainer, a disgraced former champion who seizes his own opportunity at redemption. His character is entirely fictional, which doesn't sit well with me. In reality Edwards accomplished everything single handedly. He silenced his critics all on his own, and to undermined that achievement is disingenuous. Aside from putting an A-list name on the poster, I don't understand the need to fabricate such a character.
Nevertheless Jackman is good and generous amount of ignorance will serve movie-goers well. The narrative is cliched and contrived, and it is exactly what you would expect from the genre.... but it travels its path carefully and works its way towards the climax nicely. The suspense is effective and the Olympic environment is captured well enough. If it weren't for Egerton's wonderful performance EDDIE THE EAGLE would be a take-it-or-leave-it type of movie (thank God for him). The movie will make you feel good and it will give you a nice helping of the warm-and-fuzzies, but if you think you're getting a good look into this fascinating character's life, then think again. You've been given an 'essence' of his story, and that's about it. Google Michael 'Eddie' Edwards afterwards and marvel at his tenacity.