Eddie the Eagle, an inspirational and relatable film that will make you tear up a bit.
That’s my shortest definition and review of the film. What else?
I’ll start by asking if you’ve ever had a dream. Perhaps your dream was so big that it seemed unattainable to others, out of this world almost. To you, the dream was all too real, so real that you felt it was only a matter of time and effort before you achieved it.
If you can relate, then you’re probably a lot like me… and a lot like Eddie.
Eddie the Eagle is a film based on the life of British Olympic medalist Eddie Edwards. A role played by Taron Egerton, a guy who from a very young age dreamt of becoming an Olympian. A dream that was encouraged by his mother but seemed impossible to everyone else, including his own father. What made his dream so “impossible” to others, was the fact that Eddie was a physically disabled child who had very little experience playing any sport at all. During the film, he mentions never even getting an opportunity to showcase his athletic ability: “I never even made it onto a team,” he said. But, a bad knee and poor eyesight was not something that would stand in between him and his goal.
Time after time, it was Eddie’s determination that led him to continue trying, which he did! Running, long jumps, pole vault, and hurdles were just some of the disciplines and sports he tried for. Years and a few bruises later, he comes across skiing, the sport that later leads him to what lands him a spot in the1988 Winter Olympics, ski jumping.
“Training for ski jumping begins at the age of 6, you’re a bit late…” were some of the words expressed to the young Brit after he decided to pursue the sport. Words that would discourage any, except him.
Hugh Jackman, who later becomes Eddie’s ski jumping coach, plays the role of Bronson Peary, a once talented ski jumper who decides to train Edwards out of pity. Although Jackman’s role is mere fictional, his character adds to the plot and to the list of challenges Edwards faces. Having once been part of the US Olympic ski jumping team, Peary had the skills needed to excel but lacked in discipline and drive, two traits that stood out in Edwards.
A record breaking 70-meter jump later, Eddie receives the invitation he had always dreamt of. He was on his way to the 1988 Winter Olympics in Canada where he would later adopt the nickname, “Eddie the Eagle”.
His overwhelming excitement and genuine happiness after breaking multiple records for the British team, a team that once did not believe in him, are what lead his story to become one of inspiration to all, including those who watch the film.
Aside from having faced every possible obstacle, the story of Eddie Edwards is relatable. He never fit what an athlete needed to be or look like. He was challenged and put down all throughout his journey, and yet his positive attitude and drive led him to achieve the goal he had always dreamt of.
I mentioned tears earlier on in my post and I meant it. How many of us can relate? A dreamer myself, I know I can. I have faced both challenges and rejection, but anyone pursuing anything great will too. As Edward’s mom played a big role in his drive and persistence, I can add that my family has played the same role in mine.
A passionate storyteller, I have at many times been told that I have to fit a mold of what a journalist is, what she has to look like, what she needs to sound like, and what language the story needs to be told in. I have heard the word no more times that I have heard the word yes. I’ve taken the criticism and created a different path for myself. When I have wanted to give up and move on, it has been the words of encouragement coming from my family that have kept me going. It has been the long and challenging journey that my parents have faced themselves, that has given me the strength to even dream.
I am no Olympic athlete, but I am a dreamer. The film concludes with added quotes from founder of the Olympic games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, words that can be applied to many challenges in life, words that I have applied to my own.
“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”
Eddie Edwards did not become the greatest athlete of his time, but his persistence, discipline, and drive are what made his dream come true; he made it to the Olympics.