Edwards became a national hero by becoming the first competitor to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping during the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. He was a particular dark horse to achieve this placement, since he had no funding and his farsightedness forced him to wear glasses under his goggles, making him virtually blind during the jumps. The press nicknamed Edwards “Mr. Magoo,” and even though he placed last in the 70m and 90m ski-jumping events, he was hailed as a heroic failure.
The biopic portrays Edwards’ never-say-die approach to the sport, celebrates the human spirit and resilience in the face of extraordinary odds and challenges. It is also the story of the struggles and rejections in Eddie Edwards life since his childhood, and his strange relationship with a disgraced ski Olympian. Jackman plays Chuck Berghorn, the Olympian who helped Edwards train for the games, while Christopher Walken plays Berghorn’s own mentor.With the help of Berghorn, Eddie (in a breakout role played by Taron Edgerton) takes on the establishment and wins the hearts of sports fans around the world by making an improbable and historic showing at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.
The so-called birdman of Cheltenham – Michael Edwards – crashed down last in both the 70m and 90m ski-jumps at Calgary – his best effort of 73.5m was more than 50m behind the double gold-winning Finn, Matti Nyaken. With no sponsorship and very little money he spent the next two years living hand-to-mouth, dossing down on friends’ floors, in farm sheds and even at a Finnish mental hospital. But instead of slinking home in disgrace and resuming his career as a plasterer, he arrived at Heathrow to find a crowd of 10,000 fans, a 25-strong police escort and a whole new life of private jets, personal appearances, £10,000-an-hour fees and a Top 50 single, Fly Eddie Fly.
The cinematography has a classic look that fits the 80s setting of the story. The use of titles on screen and the lack of modern camera techniques both helped the movie to consistently feel like it was filmed years ago. There is an amazing single shot when Hugh Jackman’s character performs a ski jump in the movie and it looks breathtaking as we see him dives down the ramp and soar through the air. Another aspect that made this film enjoyable was in showcasing ski jumping itself as a special sport. Unlike in most sports movies where we are all well associated with playing football, baseball, or golf, very few people have ever tried ski jumping. The movie constantly puts you into the heads of the athletes to show the exhilaration, fear, and struggle that is involved with this sport. When Eddie accomplishes a new goal, the audience understands how hard this is and feels impressed by the achievement.
The real Michael “Eddie” Edwards