Eric, the main character of Ken Loach’s “Looking for Eric”, is in a rut: he’s on his own for raising his two stepsons, a truant and a delinquent; he lost the love of his live twenty years ago; and, just recovered from a serious car accident, is unable to muster enough dynamism to properly do his job. His life is increasingly slipping away from him–until one night, his idol Eric Cantona appears to him and tries to get him to change…
OK, when I first saw the trailer for this, the idea seemed pretty ridiculous. I mean, how can you even think Cantona would make a decent guardian angel? Plus, the only other Ken Loach movie I saw in its entirety was Land and Freedom, set during the Spanish civil war: I was forced to sit through several viewings of it in Spanish class and was not very much amused or enthralled.
However, this one works. Loach’s always been very good at depicting the lives of working-class men, and here he paints a quiet, tender picture of the fraternity of postmen (and football fans in their spare time). It could have been a very grim movie, since it deals with lots of violence and harsh facts of life–but instead, it’s a gently absurdist fable about taking charge of one’s life. Loach doesn’t shy away from the grimness of Eric’s life, but the darkness acts as counterpart to plenty of laugh-out loud moments (the scenes between Cantona and Steve Evets, who plays Eric, are brilliant tongue-in-cheek fun). The finale was made of awesome Monty Python silliness.
I actually walked out of this one smiling, and that is no mean feat.