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March 21, 2011 | by  | in Arts Film | [ssba]

Looking For Eric

When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the
sea. Thank you very much.”

King Eric was a legend to all Manchester United supporters and to everyone else he was, at the very least, a great source of entertainment both on and off the pitch. His perplexing press conference statements (see above) and French charm lend themselves beautifully to the soccer film Looking for Eric.

Eric Cantona plays himself—a flamboyant, retired soccer player who is known as one of the greats—in this quiet, delightful film. He appears in visions to the middle-aged and beleaguered Eric Bishop, a postman who has recently made a misjudged suicide attempt. Plagued with worries over his ex-wife, new granddaughter and increasingly out of control teenage step-sons, Eric turns to his idol Cantona for advice, and what follows is a funny, fulfilling and uplifting story about one man making his way through a midlife crisis (among other things).
Embellished with gaggle of well-meaning and oddly engaging characters, Looking for Eric provides comedy, some fantastic flashbacks to Cantona in action for Manchester United, and above all a sense of reality, grounding itself in the touching relationships developed throughout the film. The script, delivered with the dry wit that only a British film could manage, is both fresh and interesting, and helps the lead cast provide performances that are delivered with an authentic modesty that, unlike many other films of this type, makes them feel like genuine people.

You don’t have to be a United fan, or even particularly into soccer, to enjoy this film. With surprisingly little on-field action it transcends the barriers that ‘sports movies’ so often put up between themselves and any audience who is unfamiliar with the sport. Looking for Eric is essentially a film that explores the depth of family bonds and friendship, using the love of the beautiful game to bind all the elements together in a truly charming film.


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