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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Eddie the Eagle is a feel-good biopic set in the 1980s about the unlikeliest of Olympians, England's Eddie Edwards (Taron Egerton), who dreamed of representing his country at the Olympics all his life and stopped at nothing to achieve that goal. While more is suggested than shown, there are some innuendos and sexual references, and a pub owner propositions Eddie. In one scene, a group of naked ski jumpers takes a sauna together; their bare chests and legs are visible. Language isn't frequent but includes occasional use of "s--t," "arse," "bloody," "ass," and the like; there are also a couple of scenes in which athletes get injured and/or are hospitalized. Adults smoke and drink in pubs (one drinks so often that the movie seems to suggest he's an alcoholic). Ultimately the story is an inspiring one of determination, courage in the face of overwhelming odds, discipline, and the spirit of the Olympics.
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What's the story?
EDDIE THE EAGLE is the story of how working-class British ski jumper Eddie Edwards (Taron Egerton) spent his entire life dreaming of making it to the Olympics and managed, through an unlikely series of events, to make it happen. After failing to conquer sport after sport, young Eddie, who once overcame a physical disability, becomes proficient in downhill skiing in the mid-'80s, but the UK's Olympic Committee refuses to allow him to compete for a spot on the team. Serendipitously, Eddie discovers that Britain hasn't sent a ski-jumper to the games since the '20s and realizes that a loophole will allow him to compete as long as he successfully completes one qualifying jump in competition. Eddie uses his family's savings to move to Germany and train at Europe's ski-jumping center. There he meets skeptical Scandinavians who all but laugh at him and one curmudgeonly American, Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), who happens to be a former U.S. ski-jumping champion. Bronson reluctantly agrees to take Eddie under his tutelage and helps him train for his dream, the joy of competing in the Olympics.
Is it any good?
Egerton and Jackman are charming enough to make this feel-good biopic about lovable underdog Eddie Edwards a sweet, if a bit generic, treat. As he did in Kingsman: The Secret Service, Egerton again plays a working-class English bloke who winds up doing something extraordinary. Egerton plays down his considerable polish to appear more like the slightly goofy-looking Eddie; he inhabits the character with the earnestness and guileless discipline that you'd believe is historically accurate. And Jackman's hard-drinking Bronson is the ideal foil -- a man jaded and angry at how he long ago threw away his own Olympic promise.
Director Dexter Fletcher stays true to the Eddie the Eagle's predictable underdog plotine: there are comical-but-inspiring training montages, an ongoing suggestive joke about how ski-jumping is like sex (it's all about the release), and intimidating antagonists (in this case, Eddie's father -- who thinks he's wasting his time pursuing an impossible dream -- as well as the Scandinavians and the snobby British Olympic officials, who are offended by Eddie's belief that he deserves his place among the Olympians). While it's not quite Rocky -- the portrayal of Eddie is a bit too vanilla to qualify as well rounded -- this is a simple, sweet story about one man who defied the odds to make his dreams come true.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of sports biopics like Eddie the Eagle. What makes athletes such compelling subjects?
Do you think the filmmakers portray events and people exactly as they happened/were? Why might facts sometimes be changed in movies based on true stories?
Why did some of Eddie's critics think he was mocking the sport? Do Olympians who know going in that they'll be in the bottom of the pack still deserve to be there?
- In theaters: February 26, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: June 14, 2016
- Cast: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Christopher Walken
- Director: Dexter Fletcher
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Misfits and Underdogs
- Character Strengths: Courage, Perseverance
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some suggestive material, partial nudity and smoking
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