The ski jumper Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards was seen by many as something of a joke in terms of his competitive ability, but there was always something hugely admirable about the spirit of his efforts and accomplishments that many far more traditionally successful athletes never seemed to grasp. His perseverance in the face of so much personal and professional adversity is a very solid blueprint for the traditional underdog sports movie, so it’s hardly surprising to see actor/director Dexter Fletcher (who impressed recently with his behind-the-camera debut Wild Bill) mount his story for the big screen.

While the film ticks off pretty much every inspirational cliché there is, it’s also shot through with the same kind of optimistic sweetness that drove its protagonist to ignore the legions of naysayers and strive to achieve his goals regardless of how many people sneered and belittled him. So for every scene that slightly overdoes the sentimentality, there are several more which earn it – whether through the typically British “heroic failure” sense of humour or the utter respect with which the film treats its subject matter. Like the man himself, being an unashamed crowd-pleaser can actually be perfectly likeable if you go about it the right way.

A film which says as much about the Olympic spirit as any medal-winner would do9
A celebration of a genuine underdog over people who sneer at such things9
A fairly straightforward inspirational sports film structure6
Some slightly overcooked sentimentality at times5
Wearing your heart on your sleeve is always going to go down well with this blog8
Bechdel Test passes
  • Features more than one named female character
  • The named female characters talk to each other
Bechdel Test failures
  • They only talk about men
7Overall Score

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