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4.6 out of 5 stars89
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 9 February 2010
Another gritty, northern, working class drama from Ken Loach.

Eric is having a mid-life crisis, and well he might have because up until now his life has been pretty much a disaster. Still hung up over the break-up (his fault) of his first marriage, and living with two stepsons from his second, one of whom is having a crisis of his own, there seems little pleasure to be gained from life as it is and it doesn't look like it's going to get any better. It's quite obvious he's down in the dumps, and his mates, at the Post Office where he works, decide to do something about it. Luckily, one of their group is a bit of a guru and is addicted to self-help novels. With the aid of one of these books and a bit of homespun philosphy, he comes up with a plan to help Eric; namely to find him a guide, someone through whose eyes he will be able to see things more clearly. And that's where Cantona comes in. Eric chooses his idol, King Eric.
So it is, with a bit of sage advice from the sultry, confident Cantona, that Eric starts to get his life back on track. Until......

This is a very funny film about ordinary people: love, loneliness, family; mates, football and gangstas! And it contains one of the best lines in a movie ever. The finale just before the finale, when King Eric leads his troops to Victory, the guru says............

As if I'd spoil it for you. Suffice to say I laughed out loud and applauded spontaneously, even though I was watching it on a 14" screen in my own front room.

Great movie. Thank you Ken.
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VINE VOICEon 20 November 2010
This film takes you in all different places. As you would expect Ken Loach gets in digs at the capitalist system which ruins football, he shows the authoritarian police and the oppression of the workers, but there are about 40 other different themes and moods in the film, too. It teeters on the brink of sentimentality at several points, but somehow manages to walk the tightrope. You could watch this film as a pop psychology textbook showing how to turn your life around. (The form could have been modelled on the 12 steps - it starts of with the main character hitting rock bottom, then we watch him climb out of the gutter). Yet it works. The film exudes human warmth and wrestles with some very difficult conflicts.

It blends fantasy and reality in a thoroughly satisfying way. A great relationship study of a flawed genius and a flawed postman.
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Postman and football fanatic Eric Bishop's on a downer, trying to come to terms with two failed marriages while taking care of his less than law-abiding children from the second. He's a grandfather, and babysitting forces him back to face his first ex-wife who he is still in love with - even though it was he who left her originally. He's depressed and stressed out, drinks too much - and then he smokes a joint which leads him to have visions of another Eric: the iconic French footballer Eric 'King' Cantona who through some amusing philosophising shows the other Eric how he could live a better life.

This was a most enjoyable film, one that deserves the cachet of 'feel-good movie' much more suitably than the still excellent Slumdog Millionaire, which had undertones of darkness that - in my view - preclude it from such stereotypes. I must admit to being a Cantona fan from his heady days in the 1990s and while there may be question marks as to his technical skills as an actor, what he does bring to the screen is just what he brought to the football pitch: charisma in abundance. He most definitely has that magic draw that many thespians would die for, and there can be little doubt that a lot of people seeing this film will be doing so just so they can see 'Le Roi' who in the previous decade (for those who may not know, or care) was one of the leading personalities on Britain's football pitches in part due to his natural gifts but equally due to his peerless ego. The thing is, nearly everyone liked him, and for those who do remember Cantona from back then, he was just as much a theatrical performer in a dramatic sense as he is today on the big screen.

The script is funny, engaging and warm-hearted, and is helped in no small part by the lesser known of the two Erics, Steve Evets, who possesses that uncanny skill of appearing in this film to be exactly who he is; that ability to act naturally but not act, as it were. I found myself easily buying into his fantasy world, which is not a style that director Ken Loach is normally noted for - his films are usually much more gritty, realistic and down-to-earth - and it was important to be convinced by Evets' performance and character in order that the ending should not appear farcical. On the contrary, this is a film that works completely as feel-good entertainment because of (rather than in spite of) its romantic flights of fancy. Cantona's self-deprecating humour sealed it for me, he will always be missed from his original stage but I'm very glad he's back on his new one because he has that special appeal about him that may not be down to out-and-out acting talent but still makes him magnetic to watch and gets me wanting to catch every word.
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on 22 April 2010
I cannot fault Looking for Eric. The idea is original. It is a thoroughly enjoyable and a real feel good film. The character of Eric steals the show and is a memorable character most of us will be able to connect with. His life is full of misfortunes and he needed something inspiring. Eric Cantona, the former Manchester United player who many would desribe as poetic and controversial, enters Eric's life as an imaginery friend. I remember some of funny proverbs the eccentric Cantona used in front of a packed media and it amused everyone.

The ideas, strong characters and the football theme will particularly appeal to football fans. I enjoy watching the game sometimes. I really appreciate the film. A legend of the game is used to brighten a person life. I love my films and Looking For Eric kept me glued to the screen for whole 108 minutes, without any interruptions. A mobile phone call or a text message did not divert my attention.

A-LIST actors and extravagant sets are not always needed to create a good film. Simplicity with a nice story and loveable characters makes a film stand out really well as Looking for Eric proves the point.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 January 2013
In amongst the series of films in which director Ken Loach examined issues raised by international politics, taking in South America, Spain, Ireland and Iraq, Loach has regularly returned to his home territory of the UK, and 2009's Looking For Eric revisits his now familiar tale of an ordinary working man struggling against the odds to survive in the face of conspiring personal and political circumstances. However, what makes Looking For Eric unusual for Loach is that not only does it contain long stretches of humour (making it more akin to films like Kes, Raining Stones and Riff-Raff, than the rather darker My Name Is Joe and Sweet Sixteen), but it also includes elements of fantasy, and (along the way) becomes something of an homage to the British obsession of football (Loach being a lifelong Bath City supporter obviously has a feel for the 'romance' of the game) and, in particular, the mythology surrounding one Eric Cantona.

Taking the lead in Loach's film is ex-Fall bass player Steve Evets (outstanding as the down-and-out Colin, in the excellent TV series, Rev), a diligent and honourable, but depressed, postman, Eric Bishop, who is still struggling to face up to the reality of having, years ago, walked out on his first wife, Lily (Stephanie Bishop)) and their new-born daughter. One of Eric's few remaining loves is his football team Manchester United (although he has actually been priced out of attending matches) and his hero, Eric Cantona, who miraculously appears before him to philosophise ('I'm still getting over the f!?king seagulls one, for Christ's sake!') on matters romantic and to encourage Eric to appeal to his friends and workmates to help him with his latest personal dilemma - namely that one of his two step-sons from a later marriage is being coerced by the local gangster and Mr Big, Zac (Steve Marsh) to hide a firearm in Eric's house.

In Looking For Eric, Loach has once again cast (essentially) a group of lesser known actors and again draws out remarkably assured and naturalistic performances. Evets is excellent as the vulnerable, but increasingly defiant Bishop, whilst John Henshaw is (again) superb as Eric's comic confidant Meatballs. As is Loach (and regular screen-writer Paul Laverty's) trademark, there are numerous moments of affecting humour as Eric's pals (amongst whom Justin Moorhouse's Spleen is particularly funny) try to console him, including in an hilarious group psychotherapy scene in Eric's living room. However, Loach also reminds us of the harsh reality of Eric's life as he is threatened by Zac's vicious dog and then subject (along with ex-wife, daughter, etc) to a shockingly violent police raid (in search of the illicit firearm) during an idyllic family dinner.

At the heart of Loach's film, though, are messages of honesty, friendship and trust, and once Eric has been persuaded (via Cantona's musings) to enlist the support of Meatballs and fellow travelling Manchester United supporters, we are provided with one of the great cinematic denouements of recent years, as Zac is confronted in his ill-gotten mansion.

For me, not one of Loach's absolute best, but certainly a joy to watch, and probably as good as anything he has done in the 10 years since Sweet Sixteen.
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Eric is a Mancunian postman with two stroppy stepsons from a failed marriage. He has never got over Lily, his first love from thirty years previously. Sunk into depression, Eric is energised when his hero Eric Cantona appears to give him some much needed (and sometimes impenetrable) advice on his love life and how to deal with his stepsons' equally messy, not to say dangerous lives.

The wonderful thing about this hilarious and heart warming film is that it's about real people, in a real world. No one looks perfect, there's no ridiculous "psychobabble" about Eric's depression. BTW I'm not into football, didn't even know which team Cantona played for, and sometimes couldn't even work out what language he was speaking. But he's brilliant all the same. I have to give a special nod to Matthew McNulty as the younger Eric too, last seen as Fisher Bloom in Lark Rise to Candleford.

This is now on my list of "films to snap anyone out of depression" along with Muriel's Wedding [DVD] [1995] and Harold & Maude [1971] [DVD]
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 February 2013
Ken Loach has always been my favourite director of British films, you can honestly say that his movies are like no other. They are always so gritty, so realistic and brilliantly portray normal everyday people and the problems in which they experience - 'Looking For Eric' is no exception.

The film is about marijuana smoking postman Eric Bishop (Steve Evets) whose hero is the international footballer Eric Cantona. Tied down by many personal and family problems (looking after his granddaughter is bringing him back into contact with his ex girlfriend who he parted with on bad terms and his stepson is hiding a gun for a drugs baron), Bishop forms an imaginary relationship with Cantona who gives him advice on how the handle all of the drama taking place around him.

But it isn't all doom and gloom, this film is funny from the beginning and like most Loach's films, there is a strong sense of humanity, friendship, loyalty and hope throughout.

'Looking For Eric' is yet another great film from a great filmmaker.
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on 6 November 2009
I went to see this film at the cinema when it was release. I enjoyed it so much I had to buy the DVD. If you are a United fan (like myself) don't expect a lot of United action - there are only a few clips.

There is a lot of swearing in this film so not for children but its very entertaining and funny.
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on 8 September 2015
One of the best Ken Loach's films. A perfect mix of comedy and drama, passion for football and social commitment, fantasy and realism.
Looking for Eric sound genuine because it tells a story where football represents a distraction from the bleak and miserable reality and helps people carry on, but also because Erica Cantona is not just a football star, but embodies the popular side of this sport, who was born from people and for the people, and cannot just live in a golden cage.
Here more than ever Loach shows his ability for storytelling, being compelling and entertaining at the same time, because his rebellion to the System can't be imagined without a reasonable share of irony.
Looking for Eric is, therefore, a story that everyone can identify with or, saying it with the main character's words, to put oneself in his blue suede shoes...
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on 7 August 2009
An extraordinary film quite unlike any I have seen before - the scenes with Cantona have been compared to the lead character's interaction with an imaginary Bogart in Play It Again Sam but we do not have a lightweight early Woody Allen comedy here - instead we have Cantona as himself (or how he sees himself?) - the latest great French philosopher! The feel of the film is Mike Leigh (or indeed Ken Loach) style gritty realism but with the addition of Cantona's mystic element so that it becomes a modern fairytale of sorts. But despite the fantasy element you care about the characters and you want to know what happens to them - the acid test of great film. Oh and a specail mention to the supporters of F C United of Manchester who provide a small sub-plot and also I suspect many of the extras!
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