Looking For Eric (15)

Film

Comedy

Eric2.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Jun 9 2009

By now, you’ll know that Ken Loach’s new film stars Eric Cantona as the imaginary mentor of a Manchester postman who suffers panic attacks and can’t cope with his two mouthy stepsons. It’s a playful but never gimmicky set-up that turns hero worship on its head, as the cool-headed Cantona appears in the life of scruffy Eric Bishop (Steve Evets) to tell him in that familiar sagely mumble to pull himself together and reconnect with his pals. Oh, and Cantona takes him for a jog, shares Bishop’s spliffs and shows off his own, limited, trumpeting skills.

The pair swap tips on how to cope with the dark times and reminisce over Cantona’s goals, cueing several stirring montages of balls hitting the back of the net. Eric might tire a little of the Frenchman’s gnomic advice (‘I’m still getting over the seagulls one!’), but an amusing, touching friendship emerges that slowly nudges a suicidal man back towards the solidarity of the workplace and the terraces – a fading solidarity that the film both celebrates and laments.

But there are two, not one, intimate, winning relationships at the heart of this film – one imagined, the other real. There’s the rapport between postie and ex-footballer, and there’s the softly-softly reconciliation of Eric Bishop and his ex-wife Lily (Stephanie Bishop), a woman he hasn’t seen for 20 years after their youthful marriage turned sour. They meet cautiously, initially for practical reasons as they share the childcare of their granddaughter, but later they begin to inquire into each other’s lives and try to work out what went wrong many years before. Their scenes together are the film’s highlights, and both Evets and Bishop – neither of whom have had such demanding acting roles before – give honest and warm performances.

The beauty of Loach’s film is that both these relationships feel equally relevant to Eric’s life and Loach’s examination of it. The winning power of ‘Looking for Eric’ lies in this meeting of the magic and the mundane. It’s mainly a film about men – men who fail themselves, like Eric, and men who fail society, like the hoodlums we see tempting Eric’s sons into crime in the film’s less successful climactic storyline, which involves angry dogs, kidnapping, YouTube and gunplay, and feels a little out of place after the film’s quiet tête-à-tête. But then Loach and his writer Paul Laverty are nostalgists for lost causes, and this is their chance to grieve again for the changing world of work.

Their last film, ‘It’s a Free World’, mourned a more moral approach to employment; here they mourn the lack of opportunities for Eric’s sons. But ‘Looking for Eric’ is more of a cheerful wake than a funeral. Football might be corporate, Eric might be going gaga, teenage boys might be all adrift, but what win out are humour, love, friendship and the support of your mates. It’s a Loach film all right – with added optimism and laughs.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Jun 12, 2009

Duration:

116 mins

Cast and crew

Cast:

Steve Evets, John Henshaw, Eric Cantona, Stephanie Bishop

Screenwriter:

Paul Laverty

Director:

Ken Loach

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:13
  • 4 star:10
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|45
1 person listening
Ian

I am not a man I am cantona....this is not a film it's a masterpiece

Ian

I am not a man I am cantona....this is not a film it's a masterpiece

raz

i think people who put one out of 5 are dick heads, it is cantona, living legend and he alone is worth more than one star

raz

i think people who put one out of 5 are dick heads, it is cantona, living legend and he alone is worth more than one star

John Clements

I'm with Ben, posting again to make up for some of the unjustfied comments and scores. Great wee film, great cast, funny and moving. How many films have you gone to see where the the audience ALL applaud at the end.

John Clements

I'm with Ben, posting again to make up for some of the unjustfied comments and scores. Great wee film, great cast, funny and moving. How many films have you gone to see where the the audience ALL applaud at the end.

Ben

Excellent film, which is easy going and totally British. Go and see it. I think I should re-post to compensate for the comments of sloan and others who have tried to artificially lower the rating of this film by placing numerous negative remarks! Great Film.

Ben

Excellent film, which is easy going and totally British. Go and see it. I think I should re-post to compensate for the comments of sloan and others who have tried to artificially lower the rating of this film by placing numerous negative remarks! Great Film.

Dave

I watched this last week, and thought it was really funny! The cinema was only 1/3 full, but everyone laughed out loud several times. Characters are excellent, and well played throughout. The ending is deliberately daft, more than anything demonstrating that the macho posturing of common thungs is only that... all style no substance... One of the best films I've seen in the past 5 years. Would recommend it.

Dave

I watched this last week, and thought it was really funny! The cinema was only 1/3 full, but everyone laughed out loud several times. Characters are excellent, and well played throughout. The ending is deliberately daft, more than anything demonstrating that the macho posturing of common thungs is only that... all style no substance... One of the best films I've seen in the past 5 years. Would recommend it.

JO

Charley, I think the fact you dont understand about the wife part or why Cantona appears shows you didnt wtach the film properly, or struggle to follow the most basic plot - he suffered a panic attack at his new marriage etc after the pressure put on him by his fatherfollowing his wedding and first child, that was clearly explained. It was also explained that Cantona came from the idea that in order to help turn your life around you can take on board the traits of someone else you admire or respect. He was suffering from depression at the time clearly, so it is easy to understand this and follow. Or so I thought!! As for the age thing, the audience I was in was a big mix, and I myself am 25, so am not in your stereotyped audience for this film based on who was there with you!! If people can't enjoy this on any level then there is something wrong with you - I liked it - it was funny and a bit silly but so what? I dont usually like comedys - they are usually all slapstick or Americanised - but this was a good old dark british film with a bit of humour. Not a comedy per se - but a good drama/brit flick, with a humourous tint to it.

Viva FC United

There are some crap reviews on this. People giving it 1 out of 5. Lighten up. The film has some funny and some serious moments. Cantona doesn't play as big a part as I thought and probably some other people thought, but he doesn't need to. It's Cantona. Just to see him standing there, his prescence is fantastic. Henshaw has some great lines. It is a great film. I personally liked the references to FC United. Hopefully gives some people an idea to why modern day football is crap. Leave the brainless morons to continue paying over-inflated ticket prices to cretins who don't care about the fans.

Viva FC United

There are some crap reviews on this. People giving it 1 out of 5. Lighten up. The film has some funny and some serious moments. Cantona doesn't play as big a part as I thought and probably some other people thought, but he doesn't need to. It's Cantona. Just to see him standing there, his prescence is fantastic. Henshaw has some great lines. It is a great film. I personally liked the references to FC United. Hopefully gives some people an idea to why modern day football is crap. Leave the brainless morons to continue paying over-inflated ticket prices to cretins who don't care about the fans.

Astralmart

Glowing reviews, along with the names of Loach and Cantona made me excited to see this film. What a disappointment. Weak plot. Cantona wasted, his lines reduced to cliched philosophical quotes. The whole gangster finale was just unbelievable. First time in ages I actually thought of walking out of the theatre. Oh, and how come this gets five stars from Time Out while North By Northwest gets just four...

Jamesey

Your youthful critic Charley (aged 11?) spends most of his opening lines complaining about the age of his fellow audience, with a cheap joke about colostomy bags thrown in. if anyone is interested enough to read my comments below I did agree with Charley on the main point of this section...I didn't like "Looking for Eric" one little bit. As a 67-year-old pensioner, I always go to the cinema in the afternoon because it is cheaper and usually quieter, not full of potential "Charleys" chomping on popcorn, slurping noxious cola and talking through the film because they are too ill-mannered to appreciate that they are not watching a DVD on a sofa in their living rooms. Fortunately the Cineworld in my neck of the woods is not over-populated by youth when it comes to serious films.They tend to prefer Chain Saw Torture Odyssey III or some such garbage so we old folk can titter through real films unbothered....

charley

Loach can't do funny, its true. i looked around the cinema and the average age of the occupants was about 65. I have no problem with old people but the constant tittering at any attempt at humour (and the sound of colostomy bags filling at 'blue tube' ( a pun on you tube ha ha ha not) was juts annoying. I guess the film cannot be blamed for it audience though. My main issue is with the pace and a lack of interconection of storylines. Break up with the first wife (never realy explained just 'I had a panic attack and left you for some reason...') Dull and predicatable reunion with first wife stroyline. No real indication of phycosis and then smokes half a joint and POP here is eric cantana to deliver a few one proverbs, but never realy have any sort of relevant role in the film. And throughout the constnt bombardment of awful jokes and linear unralistic characters e.g. The friend who likes self help books or The violent gangster who makes not attempt in any way to be threatening when humiliated by a bunch of people weilding various melee weopans. I felt like shouting someone hit someone but the football mob scene was like some sort of peace march (god I realy cringed at that part) Things start to look up at the poliece raid (which was one of 2 well done scenes) I think that maybe the film will return to realism surely concelaed weopans and young people getting pushed into violeng gang crime cannot be made into a poor joke??? well apparantly it can and not to give too much away it involves a chicken (on the outside I did chuckle but inside I was crying). This film is fine if you have no experience of good Ken Loach films and no ability to detinguish between god and bad humour. One for the old people if you want to see a good breakthrough into humour go see happy go lucky (mike leigh)

DV

Sympathy and compassion play a large part in whether you will like this film or not. Pretty, pretty good British film-making.

Jamesey

Well said Sloan. I was looking forward to another Loach film after two masterpieces, "Wind that shakes the Barley", and one-third of "Tickets". I am also a keen football follower (sorry about that Sloan!) and was present at the game in 1995 when M Cantona kicked one of my own Palace supporters (a nasty thug who deserved a lot more kicking) and the story became a national one. I found the hero unsympathetic and self-pitying, Cantona himself is always watchable but his customary cod (or should that be sardine?) philosophy doesn't improve with cinematic treatment. Loach's ludicrous ending where the "lovable" Man U fans join up to give a vicious gangster his come-uppance is just plain daft. Sorry, Mr Loach, a palpable miss.

Sutton

Whilst an enjoable fim, I think 5 stars is a little excessive. Cantona is great to watch and there are a number of amusing scenes. A few too many cliches and unbeliavable and slightly cliched scenes i.e., the gangsters. Nevertheless enjoyable and well worth seeing,

David

Delightful entertainment about an enigma and a very gritty side of life. Disturbed about Mr Sloan's view that the gangster was soft; I don't think I would like to have had to deal with him.

powers

Thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end, it was good entertainment - it was fun!

powers

Thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end, it was good entertainment - it was fun!

Gavin

Just saw the movie and it is every bit as good as the reviews. Steve Levets is a revealation as the depressed and hangdog Eric who is roused into action by summoning his hero Cantona into his life. The funny moments come when he bluntly ctitiques some of the more colourful life observations from his football hero, but he doesn't fail to take up the rallying cry to follow his heart. Cantona is perfect as the noble life coach, never afraid to send himself up. Eric's "team-mate" pub pals also excel, especially the captain of the team Meatballs. Typical Loachian Northern Soul.

Gavin

Just saw the movie and it is every bit as good as the reviews. Steve Levets is a revealation as the depressed and hangdog Eric who is roused into action by summoning his hero Cantona into his life. The funny moments come when he bluntly ctitiques some of the more colourful life observations from his football hero, but he doesn't fail to take up the rallying cry to follow his heart. Cantona is perfect as the noble life coach, never afraid to send himself up. Eric's "team-mate" pub pals also excel, especially the captain of the team Meatballs. Typical Loachian Northern Soul.

Brpaul

Sloan -transformers 2 opens soon. Be a lamb and just sit tight till then .

Harry

My wife and I loved this film! I don't think I've ever been to a film that got a genuine round of applause at the end. I am not a football fan and neither is my wife, but this film has very little to do with football. It's more about a working class hero having a nervous breakdown and then piecing his life back together with the help of some wonderful postie mates. It's about love, friendship, forgiveness and has some serious moments as well as some genuinely laugh out loud moments. I know Cantona has been everywhere, but in a way the 'Hero' of the story could be anyone. Go and see it, I guarantee it will not dissapoint.

Harry

My wife and I loved this film! I don't think I've ever been to a film that got a genuine round of applause at the end. I am not a football fan and neither is my wife, but this film has very little to do with football. It's more about a working class hero having a nervous breakdown and then piecing his life back together with the help of some wonderful postie mates. It's about love, friendship, forgiveness and has some serious moments as well as some genuinely laugh out loud moments. I know Cantona has been everywhere, but in a way the 'Hero' of the story could be anyone. Go and see it, I guarantee it will not dissapoint.

Pete

Excellent film. A truly great British film showing walks of life that are not depicted enough in British cinema. The banter between friends is excellent as are the leading two performances. The pacing of the story could have been a bit better but that is my only criticism and one that a lot of modern films are guilty of. the film had some very funny moments but to label it a comedy maybe misleading for some. One final note Sloan you are entitled to your opinion but do you have to try and destroy the reader average whilst being so argumentative? For others looking for an honest review of this film you have ruined this page.

oldbrit

Saw this at a Secret Screen showing and it wasn't a film I would have otherwise gone to see. More fool me - as it was marvellous. Funny, touching and a bit strange.

oldbrit

Saw this at a Secret Screen showing and it wasn't a film I would have otherwise gone to see. More fool me - as it was marvellous. Funny, touching and a bit strange.

Sloan

Not embarrassed at all about my views. Did you imagine, WIll P, that I would somehow 'fall into line' with your reviews in some Damascene revelation after reading your opinions? Then again, maybe if I was to appear in one of KL's films as a nay-saying provocateur railing against the tide of opininion those around me, then you'll revise your opinion of me as somebody to be admired and patronised. Just a thought. Oh and this film remains resolutely one star.

Will P

Sloan its slightly embarrassing that no one agrees with you, so people wont listen to your idoitic review. This film was touching and funny (not laugh out funny), and I would recommend it to anyone. The Man U connection it totally irrelevant - I hate football but I loved this film.

Jo

Sloan I think you are in the minority if you didnt find this funny - the audience I was in loved it as well. As for your comment about the Utd fans that is just pathetic. I was referring to the clips of Cantona etc which would make it appealing for a different reason. Your comments sum you up, and I give little credibility to your critical comments.

John Clements

Loved this movie, and by the applause at the end so did the whole audiience. Some real laugh out loud moments, and great performances from an excellent cast.

John Clements

Loved this movie, and by the applause at the end so did the whole audiience. Some real laugh out loud moments, and great performances from an excellent cast.

Sloan

I'm sorry but to use the expression 'amaazing storyline' for something that is so obviously incoherent - hence the tacked on third act involving possibly the softest, least aggressive gangster I've ever come across - just ludicrous. I couldn't care less what the Cannes festival think of this film. It's the emporer's new clothes. THe fact that it would appeal to Man U fans - actually any football fan - is a recommendation tells you everything you need to know.

Jo

Just to add on - Steve Evets was fantastic, would love to see him in more films, and will be looking out for him from now on!!

Jo

Just to add on - Steve Evets was fantastic, would love to see him in more films, and will be looking out for him from now on!!

Jo

This film was funny, and clever, and a good 'british' feeling film. Definitely good for Man U fans, but also a touching and feel good film about a man who is struggling. This film isnt stupid funny, it is clever comments that make it funny, a good choice of lines here and there in the script. The first few minutes I wasnt sure, but before long I was really enjoying it. The only thing is I struggle to understand Cantona's accent on some lines, but all in all a great film I would happily watch again.

ashley Sayer

for the person aboce to give this one star is a joke, to be put up for the cannes film festivals main prize is no mean feat, cantona is a great actor in this film, and is integral to the amazing story line which flows amazing if you were to read the script what this film does is great. a must watch for those in manchester leeds and glasgow where it will be released in national cinema

ashley Sayer

for the person aboce to give this one star is a joke, to be put up for the cannes film festivals main prize is no mean feat, cantona is a great actor in this film, and is integral to the amazing story line which flows amazing if you were to read the script what this film does is great. a must watch for those in manchester leeds and glasgow where it will be released in national cinema

Sloan

Extremely long and tedious. Characterisation is paper-thin and irritating (lots of shouting and swearing all the time. Barely anybody just speaks to each other), the presence of Cantona is stitched on in the most crude manner and the script for the best part is sub-Corronation Street. Beyond all this though, there is a fundamental flaw: this is meant to be a comedy, comedy's are meant to be funny, this is not funny, therefore, it is a failure.