Earlier this week I was invited to a screening of Eddie The Eagle, and I've got to tell you that I was blown away. In a culture swarming with superheroes and science fiction, it was a breath of fresh air to see Eddie The Eagle leap off the screen and into the hearts of everyone in the theater. If you haven't heard of the movie, check out the trailer below. Eddie The Eagle is based on the true story of Eddie Edwards as he pursued his dream of becoming an Olympic athlete.
The movie stars Taron Egerton as Eddie and Hugh Jackman as Bronson Peary. Both actors shine in their respective roles, and Jackman reminds us that he has an incredible presence on screen, even when he's not portraying a certain mutant character with adamantium claws. Yet Egerton completely steals the show with his portrayal of Eddie. He fills the movie with so much heart and comedic lightness that it's unbelievable to think he was the same actor from Kingsman: The Secret Service and crime drama Legend.
Eddie The Eagle is a heartwarming story and, as I was watching it, was struck by the strength of Eddie's spirit and sheer determination. His story evoked a few life lessons that I think we could all learn from, and I thought I'd share what I picked up from the movie.
1. There Is Always Another Way
Eddie showed us pretty quickly that if you have a dream, there should be nothing that holds you back. His dream? To become an Olympic athlete. This desire was spurred by his dad and society telling him he would never be a sports star. Yet Eddie had a big dream and he was never going to stop until he reached it. It's safe to say he is definitely not the picture of athletic prowess, but with every sport he discovered he couldn't do, he just moved forward and found a new way to reach his goals. Eddie's ability to change and adapt to whatever situation he was in is what eventually brought him to a sport that he could find some success in. Even when his own country's Olympic Association tried to keep him out of the Games, he persevered and found a way to earn the right to compete.
2. Life Isn’t About Winning — It’s About Living Each Moment
Throughout the movie we get the sense that Eddie knows he'll never be the best ski jumper, but that never slows him down. He seemed to have a good understanding as to what life is actually about. Rather than being so focused on becoming a world champion like so many athletes, Eddie is focused on just living the experience and finding his "moment," as he calls it. He's constantly on the search for his time to shine. Eddie grew up idolizing the Olympic athletes that he saw in a book, and that is what led him to the idea that he too could have a moment like they did. Yet, even though he constantly pushed himself toward achieving his goal, he never lost sight of enjoying each accomplishment, and even each setback.
3. Losing Is Still Progress
This might seem like an odd revelation, but in truth, even if you lose, you're still learning. Eddie shows us this through always getting back up, dusting himself off and remaining positive. He knew that he wasn't the greatest athlete, he knew that he wasn't true competition for some of these events, yet he moved forward each and every day. He never doubted himself; he always kept looking for the positives. If he landed a jump he was ecstatic, then he kept moving up to the next bigger jump. Rather than being negative and criticizing himself, Eddie constantly pushed himself forward to do better.
4. It’s Not About Being The Best, It’s About Being Better
Toward the end of the movie, there is an exchange between Eddie and Matti Nykänen (played by Edvin Endre), the Finnish ski-jumping legend. Matti says to Eddie that even though they are far apart in skill, they are both better than all the rest because they understand the true meaning of being a ski jumper. They both find their hearts filled with pure joy while jumping, and that is what makes them better athletes.
5. Having Character Can Take You Far
Eddie The Eagle is nothing if not full of characters. It's a major part of why this movie is so endearing. Eddie himself is lovable and has more heart than any character I've seen on screen in a while. Even though he finishes last in just about everything he does, he is filled with so much joy and exuberance that his personality is infectious. His character is ultimately what gave him his moment in the Olympics, even though he came in last. The crowd loved him and embraced him for how much he had accomplished, despite all of his setbacks.
Eddie The Eagle is a film of heartwarming, comedic brilliance and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who wants to feel uplifted and leave the theater with a smile on your face.