Here we have an Australian actor playing an American athlete who lives in Germany and coaches a British guy with questionable brain capacity. This kid named Eddie thinks he can just pick up the incredibly dangerous sport of ski jumping and becomes an Olympian because he lives in fantasy land. The writers at Disney really out-did themselves here with this fluffy, warmhearted piece of millennial propaganda.
Except it’s a true story? This actually happened in 1988. It’s a good thing the studio plastered the posters with “true story” because honestly this is the least believable story I’ve ever heard. But as unbelievable and ridiculous as it is, the movie is FANTASTIC.
Casting: Lets start off with this because it’s pretty perfect.
The lead actor who played Eddie, Taron Egerton, blew me away with his physical transformation into this awkward olympic hero. Just 2 years before this he was in Kingsman as a witty and charming spy with a chisled body. I had reservations going into this because I thought it would be too much of a leap for a young actor to go from that to this weird, partially disabled(?), outcast. I have my hand up- I was completely wrong. Taren crushed this role. They definitely kept him in bulky sweaters and heavy ski suits the entire movie (aside from the awkward sauna scene) because he wasnt out of shape by normal standards. But the mannerisms, the ticks, the constant adjusting of glasses, along with sticking his jaw out to reflect the actual Eddie… brilliant. It reminded me of the subtle ticks that Heath Ledger used as the Joker (BOLD STATEMENT BUT I’LL STAND BY IT) I mean just look at him. Kudos up and down, solid job..
I’m a sucker for anything with
Wolverine Hugh Jackman. Stop me if you’ve heard this one- He plays a disgruntled, older character who drinks too much and doesn’t care about himself or anyone. He’s rough around the edges but finds a soft spot for someone who needs help and begrudgingly convinces himself to help if only to get the problem out of his way… Like I said I’m a sucker for anything with Hugh Jackman Wolverine.
The supporting cast was everything you’d expect from a British movie. A ton of faces you’ve seen before but they’re British actors and we’re in America so who really cares what their names are. The point though, they’re perfect. And the best cameo came from American legend actor Christopher Walken, who played an American legend olympic coach. Things usually turn out OK when Walken is in the mix.
A big reason why this movie worked so well is because the director and writers really dedicated effort to getting all the details to capture the era. Anyone can throw together bright colors and ill-fitting clothes from the late 80s. What made this different was it was written like an 80’s movie. You had the over-the-top bad guys from the British Olympic Committee, you had the discouraging father who only wanted him to become a plasterer like him, and of course you had the Finland ski jumping team just casually hanging around laughing and criticizing him telling him to go home while he was training. But on the flip side you had the overwhelming support from his mother, even though he was making her super poor. There was the older lady who gave him a room to sleep in as long as he worked at her bar (and maybe slept with her) who had an infatuation with ski jumpers. Oh and of course you have Wolverine. He didnt want to help him, but then he felt like he needed to help him.
And it all ends up going so well for Eddie as he finishes in last place in the 70m jump in the olympics, but decided he didnt want to be a joke so he’d take on the 90m jump for the first time ever. And guess what? He fuckin nails it. WOOOOOOOOOOOO! He’s a British hero and comes home to a heros welcome where his father finally accepts him.
Entertainment value is through the ROOF. You sit there smiling like an idiot for a lot of moments throughout the movie because its just so god damn enjoyable. Critically its a puff movie with some serious liberties taken with the “based on a true story” but it made a lot of good choices and overall very well executed.
Entertainment rating- 95%
Critic rating- 75%