EDDIE THE EAGLE – Review by Susan Granger

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Inspired by true events, this is the inspirational, if not-entirely-accurate story of how Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Taron Egerton) becomes a world-record holding British ski jumper at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. Burdened as a child by a knee brace, enthusiastic, bespectacled Eddie displays an alarming lack of athletic prowess, yet he’s determined to compete in the Olympics. After he realizes he’s woefully incompetent at every track-and-field event he attempts, he learns to ski. Read on…

Brusquely dismissed from Great Britain’s downhill team, Eddie decides to try ski-jumping instead. A gullible novice, he journeys to Garmisch, Germany, where he’s ridiculed by Finnish and Norwegian jumpers who have been training since they were six years old.

But then Eddie meets Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), a drunken, depressed, disillusioned one-time U.S. ski-jumping star, now working as a snow-plow driver. Peary astutely perceives Eddie’s innate bravery and tenacity so, albeit reluctantly, he decides to coach him, if only to prevent Eddie from recklessly killing himself.

In Pierre de Coubertin’s true Olympic tradition, Eddie doesn’t care about winning; he just wants to participate and do his best.

Scripted in the classic underdog formula by Sean Macaulay and Simon Kelton, it’s heavy-handedly directed by Dexter Fletcher, who over-emphasizes Taron Egerton’s (“Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Legend”) milk-gulping dorkiness, emphasizing his quirky arm-flapping after a successful landing.

Eddie’s predictably supportive mum (Jo Hartley) and disapproving, working-class plasterer dad (Keith Allen) are superficially sketched, although Jim Broadbent nails his role as a patrician British broadcaster.

FYI: The characters played by Hugh Jackman and Christopher Walken are entirely fictional; the real Eddie Edwards trained with coaches in Lake Placid, New York.

The dramatic Alpine vistas are superbly photographed by George Richmond, and the concept evokes memories of “Cool Runnings” (1993), another poignant, archetypal, misfit tale that was based on the Jamaican bobsled team at the same 1988 Winter Games in Calgary.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Eddie the Eagle” soars in with a sentimental 7, an uplifting, feel-good film.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.