Looking For Eric | Film Reviews | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Looking For Eric 

Play It Again: In Ken Loach's quirky Looking For Eric, the old dog learns a charming new trick.

Pin It

Over a nearly 40-year filmmaking career, Britain’s Ken Loach has established himself as a master of serious drama, usually rippling with social commentary—in other words, about as far from high-concept comedy as you could get.

But that’s more or less the vibe of the satisfyingly quirky Looking for Eric, scripted by Loach’s frequent recent collaborator Paul Laverty. In Manchester, postman Eric Bishop (Steve Evets)—still haunted by his youthful decision to abandon his wife and infant daughter 30 years earlier, and burdened with two layabout, ne’er-do-well teen stepsons from his second marriage—is borderline suicidal. He needs advice, and with a wee assist from his stepson’s marijuana stash, he gets it from an unlikely source: former Manchester United soccer star Eric Cantona (playing himself), who begins appearing to Bishop in times of need.

Yes, that’s basically a spin on Woody Allen’s Play It Again, Sam coming from Ken Loach—and both the gimmick and the gentle humor generally work. Evets does a fine job as a guy genuinely trying to make peace with his tattered past, including reconciling with his first ex-wife, Lily (Stephanie Bishop). Cantona proves endearingly self-deprecating as he plays Bishop’s conscience, spouting bon mots in French. And there are lively supporting performances from the lads playing Bishop’s supportive co-workers.

That’s not to say Loach and Laverty don’t find time to sneak in some scenes from the class struggle. There’s a barroom argument over making soccer-team allegiance a political statement, as well as a subplot in which Bishop’s oldest stepson (Gerard Kearns) gets mixed up with a local gangster (Steve Marsh). The resulting tonal shift makes it difficult at times to settle into Looking for Eric as a light-hearted character study, but Loach still manages to craft something with several genuinely laugh-out-loud moments. This old dog has learned a charming new trick.



Steve Evets, Eric Cantona
Not Rated

Scott Renshaw:

Pin It


More by Scott Renshaw

Latest in Film Reviews

  • Subtle Tease

    The beautiful Columbus melds architecture with deep humanity.
    • Oct 11, 2017
  • Scare Package

    Salt Lake Film Society's October "Tower of Terror" does Halloween right.
    • Oct 4, 2017
  • Mixed Double

    Battle of the Sexes captures the stop-start frustration of social progress.
    • Sep 27, 2017
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep-dive into the way movies portray one half of humanity.
    • May 11, 2016
  • Beasts of One Notion

    Zootopia depends entirely on its well-intentioned allegory about prejudice.
    • Mar 2, 2016

© 2017 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation