Eddie the Eagle
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Eddie the Eagle

Like its subject, this unpretentious feel good movie aims for and hits a more generous definition of the term “winner”.

Based on the story of British Olympic ski jumper Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, who determinedly went in to the 1988 games with a ton of heart and barely enough athleticism, the filmmakers have made a choice, it seems, to proceed formulaically, and not mess things up with any fancy artistry. Sure there are a few cool camera shots, taking us down the slope from the competitor’s viewpoint and the soundtrack is fun. But the aim here is modest and, most often, accomplished. If you aren’t in Eddie’s corner, (perhaps silently) cheering for the kid scorned by his country but insistent on representing them anyway, you’ve been watching another movie.

Taron Egerton may not look like the real Eddie (who is shown in photos as the final credits roll), but he brings a convincing awkwardness and likeability to the role. Hugh Jackman, playing the world’s best looking washed up alcoholic, swigs just enough of the “hard stuff” to convince us he’s a sad guy right on the edge of redemption. So, yeah, even though Jackman’s Bronson Peary, Eddie’s eventual coach, doesn’t look like he’s got too far to go, we’re rooting for his getting it together, too.

As the term ‘winner’ has been re-defined recently, with either every kid who shows up getting a medal or , God help me, in the US Presidential race, it’s easy to slot this not great, but enjoyable little movie in as a ‘winner’. But not buried deep in this sports bio is the reminder that the Olympic Games were meant, originally, to encourage all the competitors, regardless of talent or accomplishment. If that standard means, just by taking part, everybody is, to a degree, a winner, who are we to argue differently?

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