MVFF: Looking for Eric (B+)

Eric Bishop, an English postman, is divorced from two wives. His son is in trouble with gangsters and the rest of his life is crumbling around him. The one bright note: he idolizes footballer Eric Cantona. Then one night while Bishop is smoking a joint he stole from his son’s room, Cantona suddenly appears to offer life advice. This sets the tone for Looking for Eric, which from then on oscillates between tragedy, comedy and crime/violence, building steadily towards a terrifically satisfying climax.

At first I didn’t understand where this film was heading. Steve Evets is great as Eric Bishop, but at first we see only that the character is a pathetic mess. It would be difficult to watch were it not for the appearance of Cantona (playing himself) and other comedic moments. As we learn more about Bishop, his family and his great Full Monty-esque friends, and as Bishop learns more about himself, we’re completely sucked in. It’s an excellent script and all of the performances are first-rate.

I should be more familiar with director Ken Loach’s long career, but unfortunately I’m not. If Looking for Eric is representative of Loach’s previous films, I look forward to seeing them.

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