Looking for Eric
September 27, 2010
Looking for Eric, directed by Ken Loach, is a selection at the Milwaukee Film Festival. The last showing of the film at the festival will be on October 2, 2010 at 6:30 p.m., Ridge Cinema.
Eric’s coworkers and supervisors at a Manchester, UK post office can see Eric’s stooped shoulders and sense danger in his alienated eyes. They secretly conspire to combat his listless apathy. With the help of a psychological self-help manual, Eric’s post office supervisor makes an endearingly ridiculous and sincere attempt to set Eric on the road to spiritual recovery. In Eric’s chaotic living room, which has years of undelivered mail spilling out of the bookcases, Eric’s supervisor conducts a therapy-for-laymen group session straight out of the self-help book. The supervisor asks the affable postmen to imagine a loving father figure. Eric emerges from the therapy session with an imaginary sage to look after him. Eric’s guru takes the form of his youthful hero, soccer superstar Eric Cantona. Cantona, who most surely has very big balls and deep French wisdom, can see right through the real man trapped inside Eric’s broken spirit. A highly imaginative madcap plot unfolds (one which may be too loopy for some) and Eric eventually reclaims his dignity and purpose after much travail. Steve Evets as Eric Bishop and Eric Cantona as himself are brilliant. The supporting cast is wonderful as well. Paul Laverty’s script is robust and refreshingly unrepressed. One word of caution: a willing suspension of disbelief is necessary for ye who enter here. If you buy in, you will take a wild ride through the tough streets of working-class Manchester, share in the grim reality of Eric’s home life and take a magic carpet ride with Eric every time he lights a joint before his frequent tête à têtes with Cantona, the Jean-Paul Sartre of the soccer world. You might not expect such a tender hearted film filled with magic and charm to emerge from such harsh, goofy and improbable premises but here you have it.
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