Eric is the 50-ish universal man who finds himself off-track. Using sports analogy, the grace of a woman and an inner desire to finally, at long last, find his true self, Eric self-talks himself through his challenges.
Not the film to impress your date
However, if you want to impress a guy by taking him to an intellectual foreign film, skip this one, despite the soccer content and psychological hints about male redemption. I don’t expect to like every film. However, I do expect that both my guest and I can understand the dialogue, whether through subtitles or spoken words.
And this is the main problem with “Looking for Eric,” nominated for the Palm D’Or, the highest award of the Cannes Festival. The heavy English brogue, and the French-English mix used by soccer legend, Eric Cantona, were incomprehensible to the American-born viewers at the Northwest International Film Festival’s recent screening.
Frustrating, disappointing and socially embarrassing for me. Inexcusable for the producer and distributor.
This being the sad case, “Looking for Eric” can still be reviewed with merit.
Everyone is looking for a hero … within their own selves
First of all, credit goes to the hero, Eric Bishop, played by Steve Evets, for his tremendous acting — so good that despite being irritated by his indecipherable English accent, the audience is still able to get a sense of the possible story through his expressed anguish, shyness, desperation and strength of character.
This guy had troubles. He was unhappy, lacked personal courage and authority (even as a parent) and realized he had to meet his challenges or wallow in a morass of meaninglessness for the rest of his life.
He smokes joints as if they were cigarettes and drinks beer as his beverage of choice. Into this non-stop self-medicated mess he self-talks, a type of psycho-therapy , using a vision of Eric Cantona. What can he do about his wretched life?
Cantona, an amazing true-life French hero in the soccer arena, is featured as himself. He uses his soccer success as an analogy on the how and why of living. “It’s for others!” he shouts (and we do understand).
The most precious situation in this film revolves around our hero’s regret and rekindled interest in one of his ex-wives, played with sufficient caution by Stephanie Bishop (yes, the first and last names of the characters and the actors mix with levels of inter/intra script analogies). Bishop plays the classic angelic role of redemptor-facilitator with tentative interest.
The script reflects the universal disquietude men in their late 50s find themselves facing. As they reflect on their lives they find they aren’t quite fulfilled and haven’t quite become the hero in their lives that they thought they would be. What to do?
Looking for Eric appears to examine this predicament using both humor and sports psychology. Alas, if only we could have understood the dialogue we might have had an important therapy session.
Year of Production: 2009
Running Time: 114 mins
Director: Ken Loach
Producer: Rebecca O’Brien
Executive/Co-Producers: Eric Cantona, Pascal Caucheteux, Vincent Maraval
Editor: Jonathan Morris
Screenwriter: Paul Laverty
Director of Photography: Barry Ackroyd
Production Designer: Fergus Clegg
Sound: Ray Beckett
Music: George Fenton
Cast: Steve Evets, Eric Cantona, John Henshaw, Stephanie Bishop, Gerard Kearns, and Stefan Gumbs,
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Sport
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