I am going to preface this review by stating that I was definitely not sober when watching the film, nor whilst writing the review, but I LOVED Netlfix’s Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.
The film has been almost universally panned, but I was willing to give it a chance because despite every adult protestation, part of me remembers how much 8 year old Clare loved the Eurovision song contest (we only had 4 channels, it really was slim pickings) and more importantly, I will watch Rachel McAdams in anything. She is better than any of us deserve.
I’ll start with the negative. It is too long. I also write for an American film site and received a message last night from the EIC who had watched the film and genuinely didn’t know the Eurovision song context actually existed. But his biggest complaint was the length of the film, and he isn’t wrong. I loved this film, but I was so invested that by the stage they reached the semi-finals, I was TOO invested and almost in tears, and then realised I had almost an hour left and a whole other round of the contest to go.
The second complaint I’ve seen from a lot of people is Will Ferrell. I love Ferrell in a supporting role, and struggle when he is in the lead. My view of this film, he is the side character and this is McAdams, or should I say, Sigrid’s film. But I very much watched it through that lens due to my undying devotion to her. If you are watching it through a Farrell lens, I can see where the frustration comes from.
Now to the good. It’s SO fun. I haven’t’ laughed, giggled and gasped at a 2020 film like I did at this. The song-a-thon segment is pure Pitch Perfect and as a fan of the underdog coming of age song contest genre (you’d be surprised how many films there are in that genre) this hit all the right tropes for me.
McAdams is perfectly innocent in the role of Sigrid, summed up with the line ‘the gnomes have gone too far!’ There’s some brilliant Eurovision cameos, homages and performances from megastars like Demi Lovato.
If they could have done something with the runtime it would have been perfect, but (even though it’s been a good 8 years since my last viewing) it sums up the Eurovision experience perfectly. So much length, so much confusion, so much weird.
I leave you with one final question, what is your ‘JaJa Ding Dong?’ Mine is ‘Uptown Funk’ or Taylor Swift’s entire catalogue.
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