"Eddie the Eagle" is a movie that soars. It takes the emotions of an audience and lifts them to wondrous heights. The question becomes why aren't more audiences soaring with Eddie. It can't be the trailer because it perfectly captures the thrill of watching a man living his dream. It can't be the actors because Hugh Jackman and Taron Egerton are at their best. And it can't be the plot because this true story of a young man from England who wants to be an Olympian at all costs is nothing short of heroic. So face the facts, there is no good reason for audiences not to be packing in to see this movie.
The movie starts with Eddie as a young boy having some health problems. He wears a brace on one leg but that doesn't stop him from trying to be an athlete, though not with much success. Still his mother (Jo Hartley) encourages him at every turn while his dad (Keith Allen) tries to keep it all in perspective. Eventually the brace comes off and Eddie decides he will be an Olympic skier.
When being on the ski team doesn't work out, Eddie sets his sights on becoming a ski jumper. Britain does not have anyone competing in that category so it is a goal Eddie sees himself accomplishing. He manages to get the attention of former athlete Bronson Peary (Jackman) and brings him on as his coach. Together they aim for success at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.
Since the movie is based on a true story it is hard to imagine much success ensuing, but then you get caught up in Eddie's heart and his dreams and you find anything is possible. Egerton does this by playing to Eddie's nerdy side but also conveying his strength of character. Eddie flies on the wings of his hopes.
As Peary, Jackman has to maintain a sense of reality. Peary walked a fine line of providing Eddie with a sense of accomplishment but balanced it with being the one who made sure he understood his limitations. Peary and Eddie made a good team and so do Jackman and Egerton.
There are so many good facets of Eddie's story on display. We see his complete faith in his destiny. We see the depths of his mother's love and encouragement. We see the impact his drive can have on the people around him. And we see how he can achieve the impossible.
The film is rated PG-13 for mild violence, partial nudity and adult situations. There is one scene concerning Eddie's admiration for the actress Bo Derek which might concern parents of younger children who are in the audience.
Overall the film is a celebration of hope and faith in one's own abilities. Eddie is a champion in many ways and the movie highlights them all. You will laugh, cry and cheer, but most of all you will soar along with Eddie.
I scored "Eddie the Eagle" a soaring 7 out of 10.
Jackie K Cooper