Looking For Eric (2009) dir: Ken Loach

Well here’s a film from the UK’s most undervalued director that will hopefully appeal to a wider audience giving the director some much deserved mainstream success.

Eric (Steve Evets) is suffering from depression, his life is crap and he was last happy when he saw Eric Cantona play soccer for Manchester United. As he drowns in despair, he starts seeing Eric Cantona, his hero, who begins to give him advice on how to change his life around.

Like Ken Loach’s other films, this is still a story with a social aspect at its heart but here it is wrapped in some touching comedy.

It was a pleasure to watch the interaction between the two Erics. Ken Loach (unusually for a filmmaker) shoots his films in sequence and the actors are never given a full script –  they don’t know what’s coming next. So, when Eric first sees Eric Cantona his expression and reaction is priceless. The film is really good stuff.

Apparently, Eric Cantona originally approached Ken Loach with a slightly different idea, based around a Leeds United fan who had switched allegiance to Manchester United when Eric Cantona move there. The fan lost his job, his friends and family. From there screenwriter John Laverty developed a new idea which eventually turned into the screenplay for this film.

It’s worth noting that the film is not really about football, (I’m not a big fan of it), so if you hate football/soccer – don’t let the football aspect put you off.

The French love Ken Loach, the Brits love the French Eric Cantona, hopefully this is a marriage that will play to a wider audience.  It’s been picked up by IFC for America – so even you lot in the good old US of A have no excuses.

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