One of Netflix’s big releases last year was Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. Starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams as Icelandic duo, Fire Saga, this film has been a hit with audiences around the world thanks to its sweet homage to the titular event that is loved around the globe. Directed by David Dobkin from a script written by Ferrell and Andrew Steele, Eurovision Song Contest is a charming film sprinkled with lots of humour. We follow Fire Saga’s journey from local performers to the Eurovision final which is set in the UK. With the first act of the film set in the small Icelandic town of Húsavík and the latter acts set in Edinburgh.
Will Ferrell’s performance as Lars is definitely the comic relief of the film. Lars is over the top and extremely eccentric, letting nothing stop him in his quest to win Eurovision. Ferrell brings his best performance in years as he gives space for the relationship between Lars and Sigrit to take centre stage. Of course, Ferrell provides us with his signature humour full of double entendres and physicality but it seems toned down and more controlled compared to past roles. What is clear in Ferrell’s performance is that he obviously has respect for Eurovision and doesn’t want to make fun but use the film as a tribute. Extremely funny and with a hilarious script, Ferrell displays what has made him one of the best comedic actors in mainstream cinema today.
Rachel McAdams’ as Sigrit is the highlight of the film. I was a bit disappointed to learn that she didn’t do her own singing but her performance aside this is still brilliant. What makes Sigrit such a great character is her love for Iceland and its traditions. She asks elves for help, often bringing them gifts in exchange for good fortune at Eurovision. Her affection for Lars is evident and she is unafraid to follow her own path despite what her family and friends say. Where Lars is dead set in his exaggerated vision in a bid to please a larger audience, often not telling Sigrit of any changes, it is down to Sigrit to provide that sense of home to the film. Inspired by her unrequited love for Lars, she writes “Húsavík” in which she incorporates the Icelandic language whilst also showing the image of how it feels to live in such a small town. It’s nice to see McAdams in a comedic role after a slew of successful dramatic roles which includes her Oscar nominated performance in 2015’s Spotlight.
As the film is a musical it’s important to talk about the songs. Starting off with the brilliant “Volcano Man” as the band practice in Lars’ basement to the Eurovision contender “Double Trouble” and the gloriously climatic “Húsavík”, Eurovision Song Contest is full of catchy, brilliant songs. With an eclectic mix of original songs and covers, this film has a soundtrack that is entertaining and memorable. I think that the original songs in particular have a perfect blend of fun Euro pop and softer ballads while also bringing in past Eurovision winners and contestants for an iconic mashup event. Admittedly, I have been playing “Volcano Man” and “Húsavík” because I think they’re so brilliant.
Overall, Eurovision Song Contest is an entertaining thrill. The reason I didn’t watch this film on release was because I was unsure whether it was worth the watch and I didn’t think I would enjoy it, however, I regret not seeing it sooner. From the brilliant soundtrack to Rachel McAdams’ fantastic performance (even if it isn’t her singing voice), this film is deserving of the praise it has received and is a lot of fun to watch. Ferrell and McAdams make a great onscreen duo and work really well together as the chemistry between them works perfectly.
What did you think of Eurovision Song Contest? Let me know in the comments below!
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is available to stream on Netflix!