Films about singing contests have secured a specific genre in Hollywood. From films like Pitch Perfect and Teen Spirit to even animated films like Sing!, it’s easy to root for a group or individual in these fictional competitions.
Now, director David Dobkin brings a realistic aspect to this genre by creating a story around an actual competition with his film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. With a brilliant cast, exciting soundtrack and charm to boast, this film is definitely a must-see and one of Netflix’s best.
The film follows Lars (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit (Rachel McAdams), two Iceland natives who have dreamed of winning the Eurovision Song Contest ever since they were small children. After forming the band Fire Saga and being randomly selected as the last Iceland group for the finalist competition, all of the other Icelandic artists in the competition die in a huge boating accident. Now, it’s up to Lars and Sigrit to go to Eurovision and make Iceland proud while enduring shady competitors and endless hijinks.
This type of film seems to be Ferrell’s brand: the underdog competitor somehow making a great comeback. Look at Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby or Blades of Glory — classic examples of Ferrell’s comedic genius in this genre. However, his performance in Eurovision is the most authentic audiences have seen the comedian in quite a while. Everything that makes Ferrell a great actor shines in this performance, be it his excellent execution of slapstick, his quick and witty commentary or even his off-kilter vocals that his fans love. More than anything, Ferrell, yet again, makes the audience root for his imperfect yet lovable character.
Ferrell couldn’t have accomplished the amazing script he wrote for this film if it weren’t for McAdams’ performance as Sigrit. She brings such a lovely, charming energy to the film that’s so necessary. The two actors have incredible chemistry with each other, so much so that you’re rooting for them to get together throughout the whole film (even though they’re often mistaken for brother and sister, which Sigrit repeatedly clears up). Though the actress didn’t do her own singing in the film, audiences should be excited to hear the musical stylings of Icelandic singer My Marianne, whose voice is dubbed over McAdams.
The supporting cast is also phenomenal, including Dan Stevens (known for his musical role as the beast in the 2017 live action version of Beauty and the Beast), and Greek actress Melissanthi Mahut. Both actors play the stereotypical villains in the film but are quickly rid of their demonizing personas. In addition, Pierce Brosnan makes an extended cameo as Ferrell’s father, and Demi Lovato makes an extended cameo as the clear frontrunner for Iceland and then as a ghost after she dies at the beginning of the film.
To add to the realistic elements of the film, Eurovision features many Icelandic cast members and even several real competitors and winners of the actual Eurovision song contest from previous years, including Bilal Hassani from France, John Lundvik from Sweden, Alexander Rybak from Norway, Jamala from Ukraine, Conchita Wurst from Austria, Netta Barzilai from Israel and many more for an epic song-along in the middle of the film.
The song-along is just one example of the incredible soundtrack that accompanies the film. Every song you hear in the competition, including Stevens’ “Lion of Love,” is downloadable on the soundtrack, and all of Fire Saga’s hits like “Volcano Man,” “Double Trouble” and “Husavik” can be streamed. Immediately after watching, you’re going to want to listen to the soundtrack on repeat.
Eurovision is just a generally upbeat and heartwarming film, which is something people desperately need right now. Though it’s criticized for being over the top, the film recognizes itself as being so and leans into it. For a fun two-hour distraction that will leave you feeling immensely happy, stream Eurovision on Netflix.