Inspired by a real person, Michael “Eddie” Edwards, the first ski jumper to represent Britain at the Olympic Games in 1988 in Calgary, Canada, this movie stars Taron Egerton (whom I’m watching for the first time) and Hugh Jackman (another of my idols).
The movie starts with a young, six-year-old Eddie who, after holding his breath for 58 secs in the bathtub, declared tha he was going to get to the Olympics. Throughout his growing up years, Eddie never gave up that dream though his father said he was not an athelete and would never be Olympic material and that skiing was not exactly a career. These words would come back to Eddie as he stood at the top of the 90m slope before his jump and would spur him on.
Although he had little talent for the sport and was placed last at the games, the realization of his dreams of becoming an Olympian elevated him to the status of a hero and he was lauded by the media and public.
In Norway, ski jumpers started training from the time they were six years old but Eddie only found a coach when he was almost an adult. In the movie, Jackman plays a fictitious American ski jump coach named Bronson Peary, said to be an amalgam of all Eddie’s former instructors. He believes that skiing is “not just a sport. It’s an art. It’s spiritual.”
Although much about this film is predictable, and contains cliches and pep talk like “A true Olympian is doing your best, but never give up”, “You will never take jumping seriously because you never take yourself seriously”, “The most important thing in the Olympics is not to win but to take part”, “The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle”, one thing that Eddie said still stays with me: “I need my moment. I need to do the one thing to prove them wrong”.
Two things I enjoy most about this film are the visual effects and the music. The views from the top of the ski slopes in Austria (The European Circuit 1987), Switzerland (St Moritz), Germany (Oberstdorf) and Canada (1988 Olympics in Calgary) are simply awesome! These are views I would not get to see otherwise.
One of the tracks, the uplifting “Thrill Me”, at the end of the movie is sung by Egerton and backed by Jackman. The other that left a deep impression on me is the use of Maurice Ravel’s (French composer, 1875-1937) popular Bolero (originally a ballet score, written in 1928) in a training session that Jackman gave Egerton. The theme is so repetitive and the crescendo so gradual and effective that it makes the session look more interesting than tough. I am utterly impressed by Jackman’s “demonstrations” of “jumps” as he looks like he is making dance moves!