Where there’s a will, there’s a way. In the age before athletes used contact lenses, Michael Edwards, with his thick glasses and knee problems, made it to the 1988 Winter Olympics. After representing Britain as a ski jumper at the World Champions, and being ranked 55th in the world, he qualified for the by meeting the basic qualifying requirements for the Games, as the sole British entrant.’ ski jumping category, because Britain didn’t have a national team for the sport back then.
In the biographical Eddie the Eagle (which was Edwards’ nickname), Taron Egerton sheds all the bad boy charm he showed in Kingsman: The Secret Service to play the determined title character. His face is in a constant grimace, he’s got a scrawny moustache, and trips over easily. It’s not a very appealing character, and he’s even annoying at times, but Egerton’s enthusiasm is infectious across the big screen.
Eddie’s persistence and courage earns him the support of Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), a former champion American ski jumper who left the sport at the prime of his career because of conflict with his mentor. The film would not have worked without Jackman, whose humour gives it the charm and flair it needs.
Eddie the Eagle is a heartwarming movie, but as a sports drama, it fails to portray the thrills of ski jumping downfrom a 90m ramp. There’s not even an attempt to create a feeling of vertigo. You wait for the adrenaline rush to come, but those moments are as short as Eddie’s moments in the spotlight.