Thursday, 18 February 2016 00:00

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Review written by Jon Patch with 3.5 paws out of 4

Eddie the Eagle

20th Century Fox, Marv Films, Saville Productions and Studio Babelsberg present a PG-13, 105 minute, Biography, Drama, History film directed by Dexter Fletcher, written by Sean Macaulay and Simon Kelton with a theater release date of February 26, 2016.

 

In a quote from Pierre de Coubertin (father of the modern Olympics), "The important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part; the important thing in Life is not triumph, but the struggle; the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well." These are great words to live by especially for Eddie ‘Eagle’ Edwards (Taron Egerton). Based on a true story we get to watch Eddie grow up as a young British boy with a leg brace on his left leg and a spirit to win in all he does especially in trying to be an athlete. His mother Janette (Jo Hartley) was always supportive but his father (Keith Allen) not so much, always telling Eddie he is not nor will he ever be an athlete but rather should follow his father’s career as a plasterer.

As he grew older Eddie knew he would never make it to the summer Olympics so he changed his direction and looked towards making the winter Olympics in 1988. Currently it was 1987 and Eddie knew he had a lot of work ahead of him minus the support of his father and for that matter the British Olympics headquarters in London. Determination even with lack of experience and skill Eddie realizes there has not been a ski jump squad since 1929 for Britain so off he goes to Garmisch Germany for training. His first encounter was Matti ‘Flying Fin’ Nykanen (Edwin Endre) an expert jumper for Finland but that meeting did not go so well. Eddie starts his training by himself, first the 15 meter jump which he hits then the 40 which was not so good but he proceeds with courage, struggle and still determination.

Most kids start training at the age of 5 or 6 and Eddie is now at the ripe old age of 22. He meets Petra a restaurant owner at the training slopes who informs Eddie about the background of Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman) a local that works at the slopes. Bronson was a jumper in the seventies under the skillful eye of his then coach the great Warren Sharp (Christopher Walken) so obviously Eddie sought Bronson to be his coach. One big problem Bronson’s jacket that kept him warm was alcohol and as for training a rookie he had no interest. At first!   Eddie wasn’t making friends especially with the Norwegians a group of young skillful jumpers who like to play pranks, get naked and drink alongside their coach Bjorn (Rune Temte). At 70 meters you will break bones but at 90 meters you will die so that knowledge alongside the fact that Eddie is being tormented Bronson decides to teach him but still not as a coach.

Eddie starts to show some promise but still the British Olympics Committee has decided to make entry in the Olympics for Eddie even more difficult by raising the qualifying jump to 61 meters. Eddie takes to the European circuit, Austria, Switzerland and later his last chance of Germany trying to qualify but after even more trials and tribulations follow him one sober fool versus a drunken coward proves he can make it to Calgary. Breaking British records, becoming a PR dream and going longer with his 15 minute of fame then most others Eddie proves he’s in it to win it. That is thanks in the end to Bronson who happens to be wearing a new jacket and a little help from Bo Derek. Encouragement sometimes comes from the oddest places and the oddest times but sometimes in the moment when it’s most needed. The eagle has landed, sometimes it helps to admit your wrong and Eddie no matter what has made his parents proud.

I loved this film even though the average young person may not find its story worthy to see in the theater although in my opinion they surely should go. It is inspirational having you hold your breath in anticipation of Eddie’s every jump and for that matter the jumps by others whether successful or not. Great direction and superb writing only help to make this story come to life but it is the casting that really makes it an eleven especially between Egerton and Jackman. Egerton is phenomenal bringing laughter, intrigue and joy to his every scene. Jackman thankfully plays it low and doesn’t outshine Egerton but rather supports him in his every moment that they are on screen together. Walken is a small role but important and Hartley brings a tear to your eye portraying that mother that everyone wants. I had a mother like that and I will never ever forget her and everything she gave me, trust, belief in myself, protection, support and unconditional love, you cannot find any better. As for the rest of the supporting cast they are spot on and only help this story progress to be almost perfect. We all struggle in life but it truly is the journey that makes the outcome worthy of the path taken. Go see this film and prepare to be inspired it is a feeling we all need in life.

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