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Eddie the Eagle


Stars: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Tim McInnerny, Jo Hartley, Keith Allen, Christopher Walken, Jim Broadbent

Director: Dexter Fletcher

How do you make a successful film about a failure? Actor Dexter Fletcher, who also directed Wild Bill, knows how, and here's the result. Everybody over 40 remembers Eddie Edwards, a fairly untalented, long-sighted English sportsman from the late 1980s whose lifetime dream was to be an Olympian.

Failing to make the ski team, Eddie (Egerton) resolves to take up ski jumping, a sport at which Britain had had no Olympic representative since the 1920s. Teaming up with Bronson Peary (Jackman), a washed-up and seriously alcoholic ex-skijump champ from America, Eddie, undeterred by crashing falls, tackles first a 15m, then a 40m jump, but with resulting standards far below those of professional skiers.

Panicking at the prospect of fielding such a loser, the British Olympic Committee, chaired by a rather-too-snooty McInnerney, raises the qualifying standard. To their ill-concealed disgust, Eddie just makes it, and heads for the Calgary winter Olympics of 1988.

Faced with the fact that Eddie came last in virtually every event he entered, Fletcher concentrates on the achievement of finishing at all, and of attempting to land, however precariously, the most fearsome of jumps. Direction, editing and the music all play their parts in pitching us the Olympic ideal of simply taking part, while tuning in to the 'will he, won't he?' nature of the Eagle's perilous jumps.

Performances are on the broad side, as dictated by the mood of this feelgood film.

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: LionsGate. Colour (unspecified).
101 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 28 Mar 2016