“What a doddle!”
I remember a time when the only British film I could name was Confetti. From Ex Machina to The Imitation Game and Macbeth to Paddington, those days are long gone. British cinema is going through a purple patch and Eddie the Eagle is… well, similarly purple. Flourishing through its British mentality and humour, Eddie the Eagle may not do huge business in the box office, but will continue the huge improvement in British cinema.
The Olympics saw him as a novelty, most fans saw him as a novelty, heck, he sounds like a novelty, but to Dexter Fletcher, Eddie the Eagle is a serious athlete. Helmed by the voice of McDonalds, Eddie the Eagle is a proper winter treat. A positive portrayal of a story of desire, passion and love, Egerton’s charming Olympian sweeps you up into his whirlwind, tying your heartstrings directly into his success or failure. Eddie is a man of blinkered focus and a true never-say-die attitude. His pie-in-the-sky antics are wonderfully offset by a “real shit” of a father and mother any would be lucky to have. Eddie the Eagle takes its central figure seriously. It is gratifying not to see Eddie painted as the slapstick clown. Of course, many of Eddie’s actions, fabricated facts, would be befitting the red nose and huge shoes but this is a tale made to make you laugh with the Eagle. All you feel toward Eddie is sympathy, compassion and, above all, pride.
Eddie the Eagle is played by Taron Egerton, a very talented actor, even with the comedy underbite. According to Fletcher himself, Egerton was given a rather free reign and he soars, both literally and figuratively, as a result. Proving he is much more than just a mini-Bond, Egerton’s portrayal is a tempered caricature. The fictional storytelling rarely overwhelms the human behind the excitement, and Taron brings the humanity in spades.
In this way, Egerton is rarely overpowered by a very game Wolverine. Not a man born for comedy, though very capable of pulling it off, Jackman is in familiar territory. In a Real-Steel-recap, Jackman is entertaining and every bit as gruff-to-gooey as necessary. If Eddie’s real life achievements are the slope, it is Taron and Hugh that take this film flying off into the sky. Not often will a live-action PG film hit its mark so enjoyably, let alone one of British origin.
Eddie the Eagle is a gorgeous British tale of overflowing optimism; Never have I ever seen so many thumbs-ups in a hundred minutes. Tears will flow when he achieves his dream, beats the haters and suffers anguish to achieve magic. All involved should feel the same feeling toward their product as the film makes the audience feel toward Eddie: Pride.
Images courtesy of finalreel and renownedforsound respectively.