Looking for Eric (2009)

‘Looking for Eric’ (2009) and finding a wise Cantona

Don’t be put off by the opening scene of Looking for Eric, where Eric the postman tries to kill himself by driving on the wrong side of a roundabout. Stay for the ride, because this movie is a comedy-drama with an outrageous feel-good ending.

Eric’s workmates try to help him by self-administering homegrown group therapy and looking at themselves through the eyes of someone they really admire. While his friends pick Gandhi, Mandela and the like, Eric picks his namesake, Eric Cantona — whose pictures plaster his bedroom — because the last time Eric was happy was a decade earlier, going to a ManU game with his mates.

Shortly thereafter, Cantona appears to Eric in his bedroom. Full of aphorisms and sage advice, Cantona helps Eric solve his many problems. Along the way, the film reveals Cantona’s feelings about his own difficulties. For example, during his 9 month ban for karate-kicking a fan in the stands, he learned to play the trumpet.

At one point, the story does bog down a bit when it feels like an interview, but otherwise it is extremely well done. In the end, you are pleased to have gotten to know both Erics.

Includes Cantona goals and moments

The soccer in this movie is archive footage of Cantona’s goals for ManU, plus his favorite soccer moment — a cheeky chipped pass to Ryan Giggs. Steve Evets (whose stagename is a palindrome) successfully conveys a fan besotted with ManU, who can recite all of Cantona’s goals. You get a good feel for the fun of a fan bus, such as the spirited singing on the way to the hooligan-like “Operation Cantona” (with apologies to any Christians reading this):

“What a friend we have in Jesus. He’s our savior from afar. What a friend we have in Jesus. And his name is Cantona.”

– ManU fan song in the movie

Eric Errata

In a typical trick by director Ken Loach, actor Eric did not know that Cantona was in the movie until, in the scene where he is talking to Cantona’s poster, he turns around and is suddenly facing the real thing in his bedroom.

DVD extras include a few deleted scenes that provide extra backstory. From this film, Cantona progressed to producing his own films such as the series whose first episode is Looking for Barcelona.

9 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 9