Eddie the Eagle
Eddie Edward's dad told him flat out that he was no athlete. And in most other people's eyes he was indeed nothing more than an odd and quirky kid with nary a sporty bone in his body.
He wore Coke-bottle eyeglasses. He was skinny and awkward. And his childhood years found him hobbling around in a leg brace. But even from that earliest age, he had a dream he could not let go of: He would be an Olympian!
"Determined," his mum would say with a grin as she hugged him and gave him a biscuit tin for his "medals."
"Obsessive," his dad would grumble while shaking his balding head and burying his face in the newspaper.
Day after day, year after year, Eddie kept pushing. Kept trying. Kept falling on his face, getting up and dusting himself off for the next good run at a javelin throw or a pole vault.
By his early 20s Eddie had decided skiing was his true sport. But, though he had developed some respectable skills in that area, a stint on the British Olympic team was still outside his grasp. There was one sport category that Eddie might have a chance in, however. Britain hadn't had a competitor in ski jumping since 1929. And Eddie had a full four years till the 1988 Olympics to prepare.
Sure, most champions in the sport start jumping at the age of 6. And even the simplest of observers could see that flying down a 90 meter ramp at some 60 miles per hour and launching yourself high up into the air isn't the safest of endeavors for a complete newbie. But Eddie wasn't cowed. People had been telling him his dreams were impossible for some 20 years now. And he had always kept going.
What's one more "impossible" to a guy like that?
Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, once said, "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."
Those are, without a doubt, words Eddie Edwards lives by. His desire to compete simply for the thrill of competing and the joy of pushing himself to be more than others expect him to be is an admirable trait. (His sometimes dangerous choices in that pursuit are less so, of course. More on that a bit later.)
Eddie meets a onetime ski jump hotshot—who's now reduced to nursing beer bottles and driving snowplows—named Bronson Peary. And though Bronson initially wants nothing to do with the seemingly looney Brit, he comes around to aid the earnest guy because he recognizes that Eddie has something he himself never had: a try-anything, never-give-up, undying passion for the sport. Bronson's former Olympic coach, Warren Sharp, initially scoffs at Bronson's and Eddie's too-little-too-late efforts … but eventually applauds the two men for their hard work. Indeed, a Finnish gold medalist named Matti Nykänen suggests that he and Eddie share a similar champion's spirit.
Eddie's mom, for her part, consistently loves and supports her son. And even his dad eventually comes around to cheering for Eddie the Eagle.
Eddie heads off to Germany to learn how to ski jump, and there he meets a seductive bar owner who flirts with him and gives him a subtle sexual proposition. It's implied that she offers her "companionship" to many of the ski jumpers, though Eddie shies away from her advances. While teaching Eddie, Bronson compares a ski ramp takeoff to having sex with actress Bo Derek. He then mimes what that might be like, complete with loud, over the top moans and groans. That's a scene USA Today reviewer Brian Truitt called "a little subversive to [the movie's] family-friendly mold." Much slyer is a sexual reference to a ski jumper “crashing into the ladies.” We see fist pumping that’s sexually motivated, and we hear a few allusions to sex (“doing that right,” etc.).
Eddie walks into a steam room and encounters a group of fully nude men. (Sexual anatomy is strategically covered by limbs, towels or other objects.) A locker room scene also shows naked men (from the waist up). A nude statuette is seen at Bronson’s place.
Eddie's fearless nature and energetic drive to be an Olympian pave the way for lots of tosses and tumbles, bumps and bruises. And some of the things he does are certainly not to be repeated by any new fans he might gain through this film! For instance, during part of his training he balances on top of a van moving at speed down the highway.
We see several skiers crash badly during their jumps. One of them is Eddie, and we later see the bandaged and neck-braced results as he recoups in a hospital bed. Someone punches Bronson full in the face, knocking him out.
Crude or Profane Language
One or two uses each of "h---," "a--" and "b-gger." The same tallies apply to exclamations of "oh my god" and "jeez."
Drug and Alcohol Content
Bronson drinks profusely throughout the movie, his hip flask always at the ready. He also frequently lights up cigarettes.
An Olympic team member essentially bullies Eddie, tricking him into drinking heavily. Eddie clearly describes himself as a non-drinker until this event and is usually seen consuming milk. And by film’s end, it appears as if Bronson has given up his drinking, downing milk as well, if a tad unhappily.
Other Negative Elements
A bit of toilet humor includes some talk about "pee" and "wee." Bronson "steals" stuff (from the lost and found) for himself and Eddie.
You wouldn't think it's true, but so-so and spectacular aren't necessarily all that far apart.
No one could fault you if you've never heard of British ski jumper Eddie Edwards or his exploits in the 1988 winter Olympics. For he was one of the lesser-knowns on the edge of his sport. He never pulled in Olympic gold. Nor did he secure silver. Bronze? Nope. Not that either.
But Eddie was one of those rare sorts who operated with a patient assurance that the sweetest accomplishments in life don't have to be medal-earning ones. Sometimes simply staying up on your feet—or skis—is more than enough. It's the joy of doing, not the rush of winning that's the key here. Eddie the Eagle tells us that following your passions and reaching goals that everyone else says you cannot reach, no matter how small, is a valuable thing indeed.
That's an incredibly inspiring message for all would-be wannabes of every stripe and any age.
Of course, there are always trials and tribulations on the way to any difficult goal. And this version of Eddie's story has a few (usually jokey) cinematic face-plants of its own to display in the form of a When Harry Met Sally-lite sexual exclamation, along with "laughable" drunkenness and some painful-looking ski jump tumbles.
Like Eddie himself, Eddie the Eagle probably won't be winning any awards … but it certainly works hard to get to its goal of properly introducing us to an earthbound man who wished to fly.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Taron Egerton as Eddie Edwards; Hugh Jackman as Bronson Peary; Christopher Walken as Warren Sharp; Jo Hartley as Janette Edwards
Dexter Fletcher ( )
20th Century Fox
February 26, 2016
June 14, 2016