British cinema has these based on fact feel-good movies down pat. We probably get the mixture of comedy, pathos and drama better than anyone, they are emotional without being overly schmaltzy and funny without being an unrealistic gag-fest. Pride, Billy Elliot, The Full Monty – working class tales of overcoming the odds, usually against the backdrop of Thatcher’s Britain (in this Thatcher has been a surprising boon for the UK film industry). Eddie the Eagle sits comfortably in this canon – after last year’s excellent turn in Kingsman, Taron Egerton again impresses as Eddie Edwards.
I have mixed feelings about these films. I’m scornful of them beforehand, a bit cynical afterwards, and enjoy them immensely during. I get that additional sense of emotion at altitude, which Mayo and Kermode have dubbed Altitude Adjusted Lachrymosity Syndrome, so when I saw Pride on a recent flight I was an embarrassing blubbing mess. I’m glad I saw this at sea level. While the film handles all the elements deftly and delivers just as you’d want it to, I’m still left unsatisfied. I suspect I may not be a feel-good kinda person. In the end these films remind me of those inspirational quotes people like to pass around on Twitter (“Never give up”, “Failure is the first step to success”, etc) – you get the value of them, and some of them are carefully constructed and inspiring. But you want a bit more depth or shade in your life than a simple slogan. But, hey we live in a world where Donald Trump is a reality, so a film that can make you smile and feel good about fellow humans for a while is no bad thing.