Three films about…mountains: Downhill (2020), Everest (2015) and Eddie the Eagle (2016)

Barnaby Page
7 min readJun 5

Why am I writing about these movies now?

Well, I’m moving my back catalogue of movie (and occasionally TV) reviews from another site to Medium — covering many of the best-known releases of the last decade, as well as more obscure fare. To make it a bit more fun, I’ll be grouping them thematically (as here), but unless I spot actual errors I’m not doing any editing…so my opinion may have changed since I first wrote them!

My reviews of new cinema, streaming and disc releases, as well as retrospectives on old (and not-so-old) classics, will mostly continue to appear on the Medium publication Frame Rated.

Anyway, here goes. Enjoy…


More Marriage Story Lite than Austin Powers or Zoolander, Downhill is a surprisingly sweet and gentle vehicle for Will Ferrell that also offers Julia Louis-Dreyfus a chance to shine in the more nuanced role of his wife.

The trailers may have led you to expect a guffaw-a-minute farce but, though there are some amusing lines (delivered relatively straight), it’s more wry than ribald. And if the premise is a tiny tad contrived — as an avalanche hurtles toward an Austrian ski lodge, phone-obsessed vacationing dad grabs his mobile and saves himself rather than staying with his family — the matrimonial tension it leads to is realistic.

So, too, are Ferrell’s mild and platonic infatuation with younger colleague Zach Woods (the middle-aged guy desperate to hang out with the cool young things hasn’t noticed that Woods is a bit wet and a bit of a nerd), and Dreyfus’s hard-fought restraint when a hunky ski instructor (Giulio Berruti) starts to seduce her.

Also creating a strong impression in the cast are Zoë Chao as an Austrian hotelier who, with her non-stop sexual conversation and exhortations to nudity, sums up everything that a certain kind of buttoned-up American fears most about Europeans; and a wild-haired Kristofer Hivju (Tormund Giantsbane in Game of Thrones) as a smug resort worker.

Volker Bertelmann’s score is sometimes witty, and there’s fond fun poked throughout at the Austrian setting. Comedic highlights include a squirmingly realistic…

Barnaby Page

Barnaby is a journalist based in Suffolk, UK. By day he covers science and public policy; by night, film and classical music. He has also been a cinema manager.