Sporting film of the day – Eddie the Eagle

From robo-heavyweights to angry ice-skaters, sports movies occupy a peculiar and often frankly unwatchable place in the annals of Hollywood history. Amid global lockdown, the PA news agency runs a daily rule over some of the films that might provide that much-needed sporting fix – and those that absolutely shouldn’t.

EDDIE THE EAGLE (2016)

Summary

Eddie Edwards
Eddie Edwards (PA)

Michael Eddie Edwards is that most British of heroes – the failure who comes good. From his early days everyone had been telling him he would fail – from classmates to teachers, teammates to the British Olympic Association, even his own father. But Eddie was having none of it and when he literally fell into ski jumping there was no putting out his Olympic flame as he soared to prominence at the Calgary Winter Games in 1988.

Cast

Taron Egerton
Taron Egerton (PA)

Taron Egerton first came to audience prominence as a spy in the Kingsman series and has gone on to star as Elton John in Rocketman and he excels as the nerdy Eddie Edwards in his standout performance to date. Hugh Jackman adds some extra Hollywood draw as Eddie’s washed up coach Bronson Peary, a purely fictitious character. There is also a cameo appearance by Christopher Walken as Peary’s coach.

Eric the Eel

Eric the Eel Moussambani made a splash in Sydney in 2000
Eric the Eel Moussambani made a splash in Sydney in 2000 (PA)

Eddie Edwards is not the only surprise Olympian to steal the hearts of fans, as swimmer Eric the Eel can attest. Eric Moussambani had never left Equatorial Guinea before setting off for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Despite it being his first time in an Olympic size pool and having seen the other two competitors in his 100m freestyle heat disqualified for false starts his time, the slowest in Olympic history, earned him the appreciation of the 10,000 spectators and the nickname Eric the Eel.

Review

Hugh Jackman, left, Eddie Edwards, and Taron Egerton
Hugh Jackman, left, Eddie Edwards, and Taron Egerton (Ian West/PA)

For a child of the Eighties who followed Eddie’s exploits on TV and through the newspapers in the pre-internet age a trip down memory lane is a most welcome distraction and the added bonus of a killer soundtrack ramps up the enjoyment. Thanks to some sharp directing from Dexter Fletcher and the expert work of the stuntmen you experience every high and feel every bruise as Eddie captures hearts if not medals on Calgary’s 90m slope.

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