Director: David Dobkin
Starring: Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Dan Stevens, Natasia Demetriou, Demi Lovato, Jamie Demetriou and Pierce Brosnan.
Run time: 2h 3min
It’s watched by over 180 million people in dozens of countries across several continents and for many is the television highlight of the year. Love it or loathe it, the Eurovision Song Contest is a phenomenon that unites people of all age, colour and culture through music.
Ever since he was a boy and after witnessing the birth of ABBA in 1974, Lars Erickssong (Will Ferrell) has dreamed of winning Eurovision for his beloved Iceland. Ridiculed by his peers and even his own father (Pierce Brosnan), this hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm as he attempts to qualify for the competition in Edinburgh alongside his childhood friend and almost definitely not his sister, Elena (Rachel McAdams), with their band, Fire Saga.
Through a series of unfortunate events, that’s exactly what happens and the duo leave their tiny Icelandic village behind to compete for Eurovision glory. Tantrums, artistic differences, self-doubt and even sabotage all must be dealt with if Fire Saga stand any chance of going all the way in Scotland.
Ferrell and McAdams lead from the front and gamely give it their all, totally playing it straight and bouncing off each other magnificently. Lars is like an overgrown schoolboy determined to prove his detractors wrong whilst Elena is much more laid back and earthy, regularly seeking council from Iceland’s mythical Elves to further their career.
Pierce Brosnan, still looking ridiculously handsome, shows his nastier side as a bullying parent whilst Dan Stevens camps it up and has a blast as Russian singer, Alexander Lemtov. His song, Lion of Love, hilariously showcases the quirky absurdity featured in some of the performances witnessed during Eurovision over the years.
Some of the accents might be straight from the school of Generic Scandinavian Speech, but it all adds to the self-aware frivolity of proceedings. Like the contest itself, the run time needed trimming as there’s a definite lull in the middle, but the infectious charm throughout is impossible not to get caught up in. Fans of Eurovision will be delighted to see some iconic cameos rising like a phoenix during a high-energy musical medley.
Featuring some wry observations about the eccentricities associated with the competition and a relevant message about acceptance and inclusiveness, the finale is gloriously uplifting and guaranteed to make your heart Jaja Ding Dong.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga streams on Netflix from June 26th.