True Story of Olympian Flies High

Photo Courtesy of Grant Brummett, Wikipedia

Twentieth Century Fox’s adaptation of Olympic ski jumper Eddie Edwards’ life story, “Eddie the Eagle,” has hit theaters.

Aspiring to be an athlete since he was a child, Edwards (Taron Egerton) goes beyond the expectations of the people around him and overcomes monumental obstacles in order to succeed in the competitive world.

Jack-of-all-trades Dexter Fletcher has been active for over 40 years in film and television, most notably as an actor in “Hotel Babylon” and “Stardust.” “Eddie the Eagle” is his third film in the director’s chair, following “Wild Bill” and the Scottish musical “Sunshine on Leith,” both of which received high acclaim.

In his third attempt as a director, Fletcher chronicles the journey of Edwards, the 1988 Olympian, because he felt he could create a feel-good film with plenty of heart. In an interview with America Magazine, Fletcher said, “He was an inspiration. I thought if we could make a film that puts a smile on people’s face and shows a bit of what he went through, it would be a good thing.”

What sets “Eddie” apart from similar movies is the titular character’s infectious, child-like charm and his inspiring determination. Eddie, despite having a disability affecting both his legs and knees, proceeds to endure and convince the critics who define the qualifications of an Olympic athlete. Doubted by an entire nation, it is Eddie’s fearlessness that allows him to endure a risky 90-meter ski jump at the 1988 Winter Games.

As a child, Eddie makes many failed attempts at finding his athlete within and ultimately becomes a devoted downhill skier. Egerton’s performance is believable and he successfully conveys the positivity which dominated the real Eddie’s personality, who never quit despite the harsh misgivings of his father Terry (Keith Allen).  

Despite the doubts of his father and numerous others, Eddie continues on ski-jumping his way into the Olympics under former Olympian ski-jumper and current snowplow driver Bronson Peary played by Hugh Jackman in one of the most down-to-earth-roles he has ever played.

In this heartfelt journey of ski-jumping highs and discouraging lows, a small boy’s pursuit becomes a sympathetic experience for all viewers.