Movies that make the money these days seem to be the darkest, dystopian, gloom and doom, comic book hero nightmares Hollywood can think up. Or, they are heavy on the message, fraught with serious acting, or had a bazillion dollars spent on special effects and state of the art CGI so their movie will become a revered film instead of a good old-fashioned movie.
Well, Eddie the Eagle is one of those good, old-fashioned movies that tells a good story, entertains the audience, and is just fun to watch. Which means it will be overlooked by today’s general viewing public and considered an insignificant movie. But those who don’t bother to go see it will have missed a fun evening.
You may or may not know that Eddie is Eddie Edwards, a real person, an Englishman, who was the first competitor to represent Great Britain in the Olympic ski jump and actually set a British world record (later broken) in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics in the ski jumps, finished last in both the 70 and 90 meter jumps, but set his own personal bests in those events. He did this without any help or funding from the British Olympic Committee while enduring the ridicule of the established ski jumpers. And he competed in other winter Olympic events as well and became something of a media darling, but that’s another story.
This story centers on Eddie’s ski jumping and the movie does take liberties with some of the details of that part of his story, liberally [dramatizing] the story of his hard work and rewards, for which the term “heartwarming” was apparently invented, as movie critic Ann Hornaday puts it, but who cares? Hollywood always takes poetic license with any story they turn into a movie, and this time they got it right as far as I’m concerned. Turns out the Hugh Jackman and Christopher Walken characters are fictional, but they helped tell the story in a positive way.
I thought Taron Egerton portrayed Eddie in an endearing, geeky sort of way that was nice. He seemed to look forward to each new challenge with the belief that he would be victorious, an attitude we could all probably take a lesson from. He just simply let nothing stop him from attaining his goal that he would some day compete in the Olympics, which, as he reminded one of the British Olympic Committee members, is supposed to be for amateurs, to which the committee member gave him a look, and we all know why; today’s Olympic athletes may technically be amateurs, but have all the advantages of a pro.
So if you take the movie for what it is, a movie that tells a good story, uplifts the spirits, and inspires us to strive to fulfill our potential whether we win the gold or not, it is well worth the price of the ticket.
And I promise you will leave with a smile on your face.
The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle; the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.
-Pierre de Coubertin, Father of the Olympics