ByRebecca Raymer, writer at
I am a writer and director. #WomenInFilm #WomenDirect
Rebecca Raymer

Eddie the Eagle is a story about one man's outright refusal to give up on his dream. His dream was highly improbable, and so pursuing it subjected him to tremendous public ridicule. However, having been a social pariah for his entire life, Eddie saw this as a non-issue. It is a glorious perspective to have.

1. It is empowering

Rather than being beaten down and discouraged by the negative views of others, Eddie acknowledges that such criticism would be no different from what he'd encountered throughout his lifetime. He'd always been bullied, tormented, and regarded as a joke. Therefore, the pressures of society that very much influence all of us had absolutely no bearing on Eddie's pursuit of his Olympic dream.

Eddie's unique perspective gave him a freedom very few people experience. It removed the burden of social judgment. He called out the power of other people's opinions as a bluff, and in doing so, rendered them powerless. He achieved the ultimate victory over society.

Shame is a powerful tool of manipulation; in every society throughout the world, shame is used to control people's behaviors. It is the foundation of every religion, the driving force behind "creative discipline," and the basis for consumerism. Will you feel better or worse about yourself if you buy this? Will you or will you not be accepted by this person if you wear this brand of clothing? Will that church shun you if you love this man or woman? Will those neighbors invite you to the block party if you don't mow your lawn?

We expect others to respond to the threat of shame. Eddie the Eagle learned from personal experience to overcome shame, and it set him free. It wasn't money, or power, or education - it was a shift in his consideration of social expectations that drove him, and he succeeded. While choosing this mindset has different consequences depending on various factors, it is certainly within the power of each of us to assume it, and to be free. Simply being aware of that is incredibly empowering.

2. It is family friendly

Eddie the Eagle ain't no Deadpool. Bring the kids, watch it together, laugh and bond as a family.

3. It is based on a true story

Michael Edwards is a British man who was a very good downhill skier. He was not an excellent downhill skier, and did not have the financial resources to train to be an excellent downhill skier. In order to qualify for the Olympics, he chose the event that gave him the highest likelihood of achieving his dream: ski jumping.

Ski jumping was the event toward which he could most efficiently dedicate his limited resources. He compensated for his lack of ideal resources by telling the world (and statistical analysis) to go to hell. He maintained his determination and tenacity in the face of dubious odds, and he won.

Most of us love true stories of the underdog winning in the face of adversity, and Eddie the Eagle is precisely such a story.

Be sure to check out Eddie the Eagle in theaters now!


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