Review: Eddie the Eagle (PG)

The story of Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards is a classic tale of the underdog '“ the never-was trained by a has-been who went from national joke to national treasure.And when he competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary he was the first British ski jumper for almost 60 years.

Taron Egerton as Eddie the Eagle and Hugh Jackman as his mentor.

Told with a winning combination of humour and heart, this third film from actor-turned-director Dexter Fletcher stars Taron Egerton as the plasterer who dreams of being an Olympian. It’s the story of a lad from the blue-collar underclass who dares to pit himself against the Establishment as represented by the British Olympic Association.

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Putting his best chin forward, Eddie defies the odds. “What a doddle!” he chirrups after successfully managing the 15m jump in training. The 40m follow-up is trickier. But in the real competition he must make the mighty 90m jump. He carries his supporters and the audience with him all the way.

Egerton makes for an amiable chancer but it’s the inspired casting of Hugh Jackman as Peary, the (fictional) drunk and failed ski jumper, that adds panache to the tale. He brings olde-worlde Hollywood charisma to the drama and adds immeasurably to its richness.

Fletcher embraces a few time-honoured clichés and lets Egerton run free with Edwards’ gurning and, of course, those famous specs. The ensemble includes Jo Hartley and Keith Allen as Eddie’s parents, but the heart-in-the-mouth redemptive moment comes courtesy of a cameo from Christopher Walken, as Peary’s former boss and mentor, who provides the perfect coda to this most unlikely journey.