Looking back on more releases in 2016, Lee and Maria review ‘Eddie the Eagle’.
You can’t please everybody, and you certainly can’t please them all with a ‘bio-pic’. By attempting to retell events that actually happened, you essentially challenge how we experience history. The audience get a say on what’s being shown because they might have actually seen the event happen, or heard about it at the time, or read up on it later (I tend to fall into this camp). And when the audience forms an attachment to something, if you misrepresent that thing, it’s not too uncommon to be met with outrage. How then does the filmmaker appease as many people as possible with a film that ultimately cannot give them everything they want?
Well, ‘Eddie the Eagle’ makes a solid case for ‘if you can’t please ‘em, fuck ‘em.’ Why stick close to history when all it gets you is ire? Why not, instead, tell an uplifting story about a terrible ski-jumper, who, against all odds, goes ski-jumping. Tell it with warmth, with colour, with a cast of kooky-fun characters, with humour, with stakes, with a big heart-warming ending; boring history be damned. People are going to be outraged regardless, may as well have fun, right?
Rather than stay true to the events that led to Michael “Eddie” Edwards’ momentous appearance at the 1988 Winter Olympics, ‘Eddie the Eagle’ would rather stay true to the inspirational message behind the act. And the decision makes sense: it’s a little harder to back a person’s dreams if they spend month after month freezing and starving in a van. When the dreams of the man are bigger than the man who dreams them, it fits that the movie be closer to dream than reality.
And perhaps it sets false standards, and perhaps it misrepresents the views of so-and-so at the time, and perhaps it removes much of the context that made it such an inspirational event in the first place blah blah blah. Who cares when it’s this much fun? Sometimes, you don’t want to watch a documentary, or read the news. Sometimes, you just want to be told a guy worked super hard for something and, despite this and that, achieved it.
And when that guy happens to be played by the immensely talented Taron Egerton, and buddied up with Hugh Jackman (who plays a character completely invented for the movie but has a significant impact on Eddie’s training, so there goes reality) playing the perfect Hugh Jackman role (cool, but kind of a square?), there really is little to complain about.
There’s still a little to complain about though. The drama gets a bit in the way near the end, and sort of just resolves itself because it didn’t have to be there in the first place. And while the parents were just as adorable as Eddie himself, to use the dad’s support (perhaps accidentally, but certainly sequentially) to represent the ultimate victory for Eddie does seem a little cheap and predictable. Might have made more sense to have him on board earlier so that his victory feels more deservedly ‘his’. There’s also a lull around the start of the third act that drags things down a little longer than necessary, depriving us of some of that fun we’re supposed to be having.
That’s all just critic stuff though; don’t worry too much about it. ‘Eddie the Eagle’ was great fun and an easy recommendation for anyone looking a neat little pick-me-up.
Also: Hugh Jackman sex training montage. A risk; a cinematic success. Absolutely perfect.
Eddie the Eagle is such a cute film and I actually agreed for the first time with the dreaded ‘A Great quintessentially British Film! ☆☆☆☆ Daily Mail‘ advertising that goes with anything British. I left the cinema feeling so upbeat and positive, that I wanted to go right back in again. The soundtrack played a massive part in this, a mix of 80s classics and Forrest Gump-esqe melodies were perfectly balanced with every moment of the movie.
The attention to detail was astounding, every length was gone to recreate the Olympic games in a believable way. The fact it was set in the 80s didn’t overpower the look or feel of the film at all, you felt you were looking into the past through a real life and not the cover of 80s vogue… no big hair and no crazy Madonna outfits. It felt very much similar to the feel of Billy Elliot.
Tiny Taron Egerton was excellent throughout, sweet when he needed to be and determined when he shouldn’t have been. It was great to watch and he kept you captivated the whole way through.
Hugh Jackman looked like he was having the TIME OF HIS LIFE and so we did too. I haven’t seen him ever enjoy a role so much. It’s worth watching, even just to scourge Jean Val Jean from your mind.
The story of Eddie I knew nothing about, and the film does an excellent job of building tension throughout. I think even if you knew a little about him, you would still be tensing your butt during the Olympic scenes. Overall an amazing and worthwhile film and I can’t wait to watch it again.