The important thing in life is not triumph, but the struggle.
Eddie the Eagle is based on the true story of Eddie Edwards, a ski jumper with dreams of competing in the Olympic Games despite, well, not being good at it. It’s obviously one of those feel-good, inspirational comedy-dramas and the flaws of the film mostly come from the adherence to cliché that leads to some cheesy and/or clunky bits in the movie. But it’s bolstered by a great lead performance by Taron Egerton as Eddie; it’s a genuinely transformative performance – Egerton is barely recognizable as the young, charming action hero of Kingsmen. It’s a very external performance, but it is more than just the tics; Egerton really does inhabit the awkward character really well. Hugh Jackman is also really goodin the movie; it’s the less showy part, but he really unpacks the character of Bronson Peary, an ex-Olympic ski-jumper who’s fallen on hard times and makes the clichéd character actually come to life. And there are a couple of great, surprising cameos by performers I didn’t know were in the movie, so that’s always fun. The film is too long, at nearly two hours, and bits of it are very repetitive. In particular, the relationship between Eddie and his father could stand some tightening; quite a bit, actually. It’s a clichéd relationship dynamic anyway, but the actors are able to make it feel genuine. But the film returns to it constantly, but never with any changes or new information to make the reccurance worthwhile. The film spends way too much time on it. But the film is actually pretty good, taken as a whole. Despite the clunky bits and the cheesy moments that are scattered throughout the body of the film, by the time the climax came, I was swept right up in the moment, so something about the film works in spite of the flaws. The last ten to fifteen minutes are fantastic and the emotions aren’t ironic or cheesy; I was right there with the characters during those scenes. It isn’t a classic in the well-worn underdog-sports-inspirational genre, but it’s a movie I can feel good about recommending in spite of its flaws. It does enough right that the things it does wrong are easily forgiven. 3 stars.
tl;dr – committed performances elevate a clichéd script to the level of a genuinely inspirational and effective film; only occasionally clunkyor cheesy and undeniably good-natured. 3 stars.