As a young boy, Eddie dreamed of being an Olympic athlete. He had been cursed with a weak knee but eventually was able to get strong enough to ditch his brace. He tried every summer sport he could attempt to no avail. After a moment of inspiration from his father, he decides to shoot for the winter games, specifically skiing. Though he initially makes the team, the committee chooses to let him go. Determined to find his way into the Olympics, he discovers that Britain has not had a ski jumper in decades. He travels to Germany to a famed practice facility and encounters a tough start to his training. Discovering that the groundskeeper is actually a former jumper, Eddie believes that he has found the inspiration to achieve his dream.
The Optimist Versus the Ego: Eddie and his coach, Bronson, were almost polar opposites when it came to their approach to the sport. With his never-give-up spirit, Eddie represented the true Olympic motto: the most important thing is not the victory but the struggle. He experienced more failure on his path to Calgary than success, but it never truly stopped him in his quest. For Bronson, his Olympic failure was one where he put himself above the sport. He was a natural talent but failed to allow himself to succeed until he met Eddie. It was optimism versus pessimism, but eventually, Eddie’s determination rubbed off on Bronson as a coach and led him to trying to turn his life around.
Triumph Over Resistance: While Eddie had the type of personality to never give up, there were plenty of people telling him to quit. Besides Bronson resisting Eddie’s charm, the most significant naysayer was Eddie’s father. Not wanting to waste time or money on what seemed to be hopeless dreams, his father consistently pushed Eddie to put an end to it and start working for him. Besides the negativity from home, Eddie also encountered the British Olympic committee’s strong resistance. While he qualified with his first 70-meter jump, the committee wanted to avoid people seeing him as a sideshow and raised the required distance. Even at the Olympics, the committee tried to keep him hidden even as the press and fans were attracted to his story.
Historic Achievements: Eddie may not have broken an Olympic record or even won a medal, but his achievements were still significantly memorable. Since the previous competitor participated in 1929, Britain had gone through a drought in the sports for almost 60 years. Eddie’s jump of 73.5 meters became the new British record for ski jumping. It did not matter that he scored last place for both the 70 meter and 90 meter jumps. It did not matter that the British committee was against him and many of the spectators and commentators thought he was a joke. The reality was that he achieved his dream of competing at an Olympic level.
Final Verdict: It would be easy to write this film off as a story of sports cliches and predictable outcomes (obviously as it is based on a true story), but Taron Egerton was so likable as the never-say-quit Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards. Hugh Jackman had a few moments of his own, but his struggle definitely took a backseat to Egerton’s performance.
Dan’s Rating: 3.0/5