Argh and curse our old botched site (thanks Google). It's really been forward steam ahead for us, but lately we haven't been able to get cached versions of our old stories back which is kind of aggravating the shit out of us (we should have good news next week, sigh...).
Anyhow, that's a whiny preamble about how we can't dig up our 2009 Cannes review of Ken Loach's life-affirming dramedy, "Looking For Eric," which opens in theaters (limited release this weekend; and we had hoped to simply reprint or recycle it). Suffice to say while the film isn't perfect — there's some lighthearted to very dark and serious social-realism tonality shifts in the picture which are rather jarring at times — it was still one of the better films we saw at Cannes last year and it's certainly our pick of the week (if you're in New York or L.A, go see it).
The picture centers on a man in self-inflicted emotional crisis; a total downward spiral. Steve Evets plays the football fanatic postman (the titular Eric) whose life has has spun out of control — or at least it has from his perspective. And things are tough and adding up. He's been in a car accident, his good for nothing step-kids are insolent shite and treat him like garbage and increasing difficulties make it feel like entire world feels like it's collapsing on our protagonist.
Retreating as he does with a spliff, Eric smokes his troubles away, but suddenly, his hero, real-life '80s/90s French soccer star Eric Cantona, appears out of nowhere. Famously philosophical in an almost inane and cryptic way — one of his odd bon mot quotes, "When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea," which was the only thing said in response to drop-kicking a fan in the stands in an infamous 1995 incident — the footballer starts to follow Eric around and trying to steer him through his existential woes with advice, companionship and just to lend an ear.
So, the protagonist is merely stoned, yes? Probably, but that doesn't stop Cantona from appearing on the regular acting as a life coach and spiritual advisor to Eric, helping him get his life back on track.
While this conceit might sound borderline retarded, it actually completely works and 'Eric' is quite the amusing and eventually winning and life-celebratory picture. Some have charged the picture with being a little too hallmark-ish, but this is Ken Loach we're talking about. It's not like the director is known for weeping or feel-good sentiment.
That said, "Looking For Eric," is feel good and uplifiting, but that doesn't have to be a pejorative and it's a sweet, funny and very engaging picture. Catona is simply brilliant in the film, utterly charming and hilarious and Evets is equally good as the man in distress.
While the film can be uneven — see above with some grim out-of-nowhere violence — it's also moving, tender and boasts an irresistible optimism to it that's extremely hard to hate on. [A-]