7th November 2011

Don’t watch that – watch This!

Looking for Eric

Say what you want about Manchester United, but they do have a history of amazing players. In the past two decades, by far the best and most baffling player to grace the Red Devil’s line up was Eric Cantona. Not just a great player, but also an amateur trumpet player and apparently a big fan of kickboxing. In Ken Loach’s 2009 film Looking for Eric, he trumps all these other achievements by becoming the spiritual guide to a fanatic fan who has lost his way.

Ken Loach is famous for his pioneering of social realism in British Cinema, and whilst the story is slightly different to his usual approach, the message remains the same. A Cantona-obsessed postie in Manchester is watching his life slipping into chaos. His kids are disobedient and are running with the wrong crowd, the love of his life is lost to him due to him being a short sighted tit earlier in life, and he can’t afford to see his beloved Manchester United due to the new ownership and the harsh economic climate of the present.

To get away from it all one day, he steals his son’s weed and puffs his day away. No sooner is he done than his idol and namesake Eric Cantona appears to him and begins turning his life around with his bizarre philosophy and stern French pouting. As per usual with Loach’s film, it’s not exactly a barrel of laughs all the way through, and watching it on a hangover/comedown may reduce you to a blob of emotional jelly at points, but the ending of the film will brighten up your day. Of course if you are a City fan then 116 minutes of undiluted devotion to United might be a bit much to handle.

patrick cowling

patrick cowling

Former film editor (2011-2012).

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