Hugh Jackman, Taron Egerton
Delusional characters in film are generally more irritating than endearing, but I challenge anyone not to fall in love with Michael “Eddie” Edwards and his obsessive quest to represent Great Britain at the Winter Olympics.
Possessing little more than a single-minded tenacity, this young skier overcame obstacles such as lack of funding, a dream-squashing father, a hostile British Olympic committee, a late start and a distinct lack of training and technique to qualify and come last in the ski jump of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, winning the hearts of the world in the process.
Egerton’s performance as Eddie The Eagle is both amusing and heart-wrenching, while Hugh Jackman’s turn as fictional coach Bronson Peary gives a perfect gruff-with-heart-of-gold touch to this story of unquenchable hope and unlikely redemption.
The film doesn’t skimp on clichés, however as a work of underdog dramedy and a deliverer of the warm and fuzzies, it just works. Jackman’s perpetually hungover Peary is the perfect foil for the eternally optimistic and good-natured Eddie, who at times seems like one of those inflatable punching bag toys that pops right back up no matter how hard you knock it down. Christopher Walken bring his characteristically creepy-quirk to his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance, and you’ll just loathe the snooty boys club of the British Olympic Selection Committee.
Although the filmmakers took great liberties with the story (Edwards has stated he feels the film is around 5% accurate), some of the obstacles such as the disdain of his fellow athletes and the establishment are fairly well represented. This is a story of an ultimate trier, someone who, despite all the best efforts to clip his wings, succeeded in soaring, and in that aspect, it’s 100% truth.
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Eddie The Eagle showed as the opening night film at Gold Coast Film Festival with Hugh Jackman sending a glowing endorsement of the event via video prior to its screening.