Eddie The Eagle Review: An Uplifting Triumph

Eddie The Eagle

There’s nothing quite like a proper feel good film to give you both the warm and fuzzies as well as a real sense of inspiration. It’s a tricky concept to nail; often running the risk of being too sickly sweet or cheesy beyond repair. Famous Brit actor and director Dexter Fletcher (WILD BILL and SUNSHINE OF LEITH) seems to have perfected the feel good flick genre with his latest feature EDDIE THE EAGLE.

Staring KINGSMAN actor Taron Egerton as notorious British underdog ski-jumper Eddie Edwards, EDDIE THE EAGLE tells his charming story as he triumphantly makes his way from amateur skier to hopeful pro, when he attends and competes in the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Born in Cheltenham in 1963, Eddie always dreamed of being an Olympic medal winner, despite his lack of natural athletic talent, and worked hard to become a good downhill skier. After missing out on representing Great Britain as a down hill skier, the never-say-die enthusiast sets his sights on ski-jumping and stumbles his way to Germany to train.

Eddie meets hip-flask toting, former ski-jumper Bronson Peary, played by Hugh Jackman, and manages to convince him to ditch the life of regrets and hard liquor ato train him up to be successful enough to attend the 1988 Winter Olympics. Throughout the narrative we witness Eddie’s many ups and downs, cuts and bruises and failed attempts to make it as a worthy ski-jumper and it makes for a heartwarming, entertaining watch!

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Written by Sean Macaulay and Simon Kelton, the screenplay is an absolute delight, with a really brilliantly uplifting narrative created from an otherwise simple story. There’s a joyous sense of quintessential British humor that runs throughout the narrative, with brilliant dialogue that leaves you laughing out loud at one moment, then tearing up the very next.

With Fletcher helming the project, the film follows the general codes and conventions that one would expect to find in your traditional sports biopic. However, he makes it a truly down to Earth and very human viewing experience, so that even the slower moments within the narrative feel absolutely detrimental to Eddie’s story and therefore make a real emotional connection with the audience.

The fantastic score includes original music from Matthew Margeson, while featuring songs from the likes of Hall & Oats, Deacon Blue and Van Halen. Combined with the brilliant aesthetic that often mirrors that of an 80’s video game, the film feels entirely nostalgic while effortlessly timeless.

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What really ties all these positive qualities together is the outstanding performance from our main man Taron Egerton. He is absolutely  hilarious as Eddie and completely enigmatic as he magnificently portrays such a quirky character. His facial expressions, body language, deliverance and general performance embodies everything we’ve heard about and seen from Mr. Edwards himself. It really is a joy to watch this young actor completely outdo himself with each new performance.

With Egerton himself just being generally likable and a pleasure to watch, he makes this charming character even more lovable and it’s near impossible not to watch his performance with a huge grin plastered on your face.

Staring alongside Egerton, our favorite Aussie Hugh Jackman plays his part as the gruff and disagreeable Peary with ease and his usual effortless charm. While Peary begins as the stereotypical fallen star that indulges in too much drink and self pity, his grumpy disposition soon transforms into one of pride and joy as he see’s Eddie succeed. While his character is one we may have seen a thousand times, Jackman’s chemistry with Egerton makes for a pleasurable viewing experience and stops the character from being too much of a cliche.

You really don’t have to be a major sports fan to enjoy Fletcher’s EDDIE THE EAGLE.With its great score, flawless script, brilliant direction and outstanding performance; it really is an all round joy to watch. It’s uplifting spirit will attract a varied audience but it’s the wonderful execution from all involved that will keep you planted firmly in your seats, smiling like fools.

 

 

 

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Brooklyn Review: A Beautifully Told & Tender Love Story

Brooklyn

Director: John Crowley

Staring: Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhall Gleeson, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent

Running Time: 1 hour 52 mins

Rating: 12A

Release Date: 6th November 2015

It’s not often that a love story is able to cast the perfect spell of both romantic enchantment, emotionally intelligent narrative and the stabbing pain of desperate heartache. All too often are we presented with either a cliche ridden romantic comedy or an all too melancholy message of love’s cruel sting; both leading to a lackluster testament to that thing we call love.

It’s with huge pleasure then, that John Crowley‘s latest feature BROOKLYN shines as a stunning example of romance done exquisitely right. Set in the 1950’s, naive Irish beauty Eilis, played by Saoirse Ronan,  leaves the comfort of her small home town, her stable part time job and the constant support from her older sister to start a new life in Brooklyn. After bouts of heartbreaking homesickness, Eilis soon finds her place in this big city as she begins to fall for sweet natured Italian American plumber Tony, played by Emory Cohen.

As Eilis finally begins to plan a life with Tony, disaster sends her back home and the comforts she’d long forgotten begin to creep back into her life; leaving Tony feeling like a distant dream. As she spends time at home she finds friendship in local boy Jim Farrell (Domhall Gleeson) and as their feelings grow, she becomes more and more conflicted with which life she intends on living.

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Adapted by Nick Hornby from Colm Tóibín‘s novel of the same name, BROOKLYN has the effortless feel of romantic glamour as the dialogue prevails in feeling absolutely genuine and escapes the trap of overly-saturated, sickly sweet, clunky dialogue that can plague a film of this genre. The script marries beautifully with Crowley’s aesthetic, as each scene is dripping with stunning mise-en-scene. From the misty morning’s of the Ireland setting, the glamorous gold of Eilis’ work place to the glowing streets of summer on the streets of Brooklyn; the entire film feels like flicking through the most treasured of photo albums, a sense of romantic nostalgia washing over each scene.

The 1950’s setting only adds to the wistful nature of the films aesthetic and the costume department excels in making Eilis’ wardrobe a narrative drive of it’s own, with her dress sense so subtly developing as her character does. Married with many close-up’s of sweet Eilis, it doesn’t take long for audiences to trust completely in her innocent nature.

Saoirse Ronan is utterly mesmerizing as the conflicted Eilis, as she plays her with sheer sincerity, engaging vulnerability and subtle humor. With Ronan’s talent of for immense emotive performance practically spilling from the screen, the film runs with a desperate sadness that feels not only wholly devastating but sometimes even affirming; as if the sadness itself is an additional character, one that must be played out, experience in it’s entirety; despite its painful effect.

Along side her, Emory Cohen plays Tony with such charm and playfulness that it is near impossible not to smirk at the screen with sheer delight as he attempts to woo our Irish girl. Capturing the ecstasy of love’s first crushing blow, Cohen gives audiences a reason to urge Eilis to fight for her life in Brooklyn and without his magnificent performance and their truly fantastic chemistry, the film would not pack as much of a devastating emotional punch.

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What is so impressive and enjoyable about Crowley’s BROOKLYN is that it’s told with such refreshing emotional intelligence. The narrative doesn’t have to fall back on anything too over dramatic because both the writing and performances are so outstanding. There’s no real villain or hero to this film, no disastrous betrayal or salacious damning of love; it’s the very personal and realistic story of the complexities of love and how life never truly plans out as you’d imagined.

While indeed this film is a romantic story, there’s such realism in it’s characters and narrative that it exceeds expectations of the genre and becomes a subtle epic; one that settles in the heart and intend on staying there. With beautiful imagery, outstanding performances and a tender, wonderful script BROOKLYN is an superb example of class love stories.

Since You’ve Been Gone- Morgan Matson Review: A Juvenile Yet Strangely Endearing Adventure

Before Sloan, there was Emily. Then there was Sloan and Emily and that meant everything. After a bizarre chance meeting, Emily and Sloan became closer friends than one couple have thought possible. To Emily, Sloan was an exotic creature that was so completely cool, Emily was cool by association and to just be around her was all the friendship she needed. Then Sloan dissapears and Emily is back to being herself before Sloan. The quite, resigned girl that stayed at home, wishing her life away. No phone call, no letters- just a list. That is all Emily has left of her best friend; a ‘to-do’ list. Skinny Dipping, Stealing Something, Penelope, Ride A Horse – all these strange tasks that Emily must complete if she stands a chance in finding what happened to Sloan.

Morgan Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone won’t be blowing anyone’s mind with a captivating, theoretical analysis on friendship and self exploration, but then again; who says it has to? What you will find is an initially tedious example of one sided friendship that quickly becomes a heart warming story of confidence and adventure. This being the first book of Matson’s I’ve devoured, it’s difficult to say what I was expecting. Yes, perhaps something a little darker and more deep rooted then just girls drifting in and our of each others lives, but while finding just that, I allowed myself to sink back into my seventeen year old self and encourage the wave of nostalgia to wash over me, making the entire reading experience more pleasurable that initially expected.

The general feel of Since You’ve Been Gone can often feel juvenile and I can imagine this will be the case for any reader over the age of twenty. At the very start of the novel, Emily is so overly, completely besotted with her best friend Sloan that it comes across as irritating. One may find themselves asking what could be so great about Sloan? Still, readers may soon realise that the image of of this mysterious girl is not all it seems. However, due to the continuous praise of a girl that has just disappeared, I found myself really disliking Sloan. Indeed, this enabled me to sympathies more with Emily, pitying her but a sense of frustration comes with that also and remains there for the entire book.

Still, as the narrative continues, so does Emily’s personality, perseverance and bravery, something I found highly enjoyable, at times a little cringey, yet strangely familiar. Any middle school wall flower will notice themselves in her character, that natural change in your own nature when your own grove as well as finding others you truly belong with. I believe nostalgia is the key to the book reaching an audience older than that of young teens, I found myself reading and observing like a concerning sister, rather than finding myself out rightly in Emily’s position. This is neither a positive nor negative, it simply resides within the age and maturity of the reader.

While this sens of old times lost in comforting, enjoyable and relaxed there was one aspect to Matson’s story that I found immensely disappointing. With narratives like these, I understand that a love interest is often key to story drive and reader interest but for me, Emily’s relationship with Frank felt slightly rushed and forced towards the end. It seems Emily had finally outgrown her dependany to Sloan and simply off-loaded it to Frank instead. While Matson tried hard to ensure the reader that Emily has indeed grown into a self sufficiant woman, there’s a slight feel that she has just swapped her friendship for a relationship, without too much bother.

While You Were Gone has no doubt found an appropriate audience within the young teen market, that quite easily spills out towards an older reader, feeling nostalgic for the past. It’s easily to see why our first friendships are those that shape us the most and Since You’ve Been Gone is a easy going, no fuss example of that.