Movie Review: 'Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga'

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga Will Ferrell Lars Erickssong Rachel McAdams Sigrit Ericksdรณttir Netflix
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Not since “Mamma Mia 2” has a movie centered on music featured a soundtrack so catchy. “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” is the latest from Will Ferrell, and it is an unexpectedly good-natured take on the famous competition. It is a fun, funny, and uplifting movie that left this spirit feeling refreshed and utterly immersed.

“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” follows Will Ferrell’s Lars. The son of a proud fisherman (Pierce Brosnan), Lars, has long dreamed of breaking the mold by winning the famous competition. Supporting him since they were children has been Sigrit (Rachel McAdams), who is the other half of their singing duo “Fire Saga.”

Sigrit is a little more than a singing partner to Lars. She is also his best friend and love interest. When a flurry of events leads to Fire Saga representing Iceland at the annual Eurovision contest, they are thrust into a world they always imagined, but could never quite fully conceive. There, they meet Russia’s scene-stealing representative, Alexander (Dan Stevens). By the time this happens, “Eurovision Song Contest” is only halfway through.

If you think there could not be anything substantive in the other half, think again. This quirky comedy manages to weave a compelling tale that wears many hats. It is a romantic comedy, comedy, drama, and quasi-coming of age story despite the adulthood of its lead characters. Most importantly, “Eurovision Song Contest” is a feel-good film that lifts spirits with its unexpectedly fantastic soundtrack.

For instance, the song-along scene features a rousing mash-up of Cher’s “Do You Believe?, ” ABBA’s “Waterloo,” and Black Eyed Peas’ “Good Night,” which is not only soul-stirring. It is also quite moving as medleys can often be. Surprisingly, that is not the only fantastic song included in a movie not expected to herald the year’s best soundtrack.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga Rachel McAdams Sigrit Ericksdรณttir Netflix
Image by John Wilson / Netflix
In fact, “Eurovision Song Contest” has as its showstopper a tune superior to that of the lead single from “Frozen 2.” Yes, “Husavik” is that outrageously good. The vocals, melody, and lyricism make it a genuine pop wonder. If anything is fair, the ear-worm should be a contender on the Billboard charts. Netflix could have a smash hit soundtrack on its hands.

As far as the performances go, Will Ferrell is yet again terrific in an individual sense, while continuing to prove what an incredible collaborative actor he is. Ferrell and Rachel McAdams play off each other marvelously with a surprisingly believable comic chemistry.

Despite his well-established comic talents, Will Ferrell never impedes Rachel McAdams’ as she leans into a role that is one of her best since “About Time.” McAdams is the luminous epicenter of “Eurovision Song Contest,” and she shines brighter than she has gotten the chance to in recent years.

It is a welcome respite from the actress’ days as the inexplicably furious Ani in “True Detective” Season 2. “Eurovision Song Contest” is instead home to the Rachel McAdams that lights up the screen. In every scene that she is in, McAdams reminds viewers she is as good at comedy as she is drama. In many ways, this is McAdams’ movie.

That is not to say a shockingly good Dan Stevens does not give Rachel McAdams a run for her money as Alexander -- Lars, and Sigrit’s competition, who has a lovely heart of gold underneath his cunning plans. Even the competition in “Eurovision Song Contest” proves to be lovable.

The biggest joke of “Eurovision Song Contest” is that the singers at the center of its story are actually exceptionally talented. It is one of the rare underdog comedy stories to feature a talent that could realistically contend and win. A much happier version of an “A Star Is Born” scenario that brings joy instead of sorrow.

Rating: 8/10

“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” is now streaming on Netflix along with a lot of other great movies on the streamer.