Looking for Eric

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Looking for Eric
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKen Loach
Written byPaul Laverty
Produced byRebecca O'Brien
StarringEric Cantona
Steve Evets
Lucy-Jo Hudson
Matthew McNulty
Gerard Kearns
Stephanie Bishop
John Henshaw
Stefan Gumbs
CinematographyBarry Ackroyd
Edited byJonathan Morris
Music byGeorge Fenton Band The Emperors of Rhythm
Distributed byIcon Film Distribution
Release dates
  • 18 May 2009 (2009-05-18) (Cannes)
  • 12 June 2009 (2009-06-12) (UK)
Running time
116 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
Box office$11,546,932[1]

Looking for Eric is a 2009 British-French film about the escape from the trials of modern life that football and its heroes can bring for its fans. It was written by screenwriter Paul Laverty and directed by the English director Ken Loach. The film's cast includes the former professional footballer Eric Cantona and Steve Evets, former bass guitarist with The Fall.

Loach said of the film, "We wanted to deflate the idea of celebrities as more than human. And we wanted to make a film that was enjoying the idea of what you and I would call solidarity, but what others would call support for your friends really, and the old idea that we are stronger as a team than we are as individuals."[2]


Eric Bishop is a football fanatic postman whose life is descending into crisis. Looking after his granddaughter is bringing him into contact with his ex-wife, Lily, whom he abandoned after the birth of their daughter. At the same time, his stepson Ryan is hiding a gun under the floorboards of his bedroom for a violent drugs baron.

At his lowest moments, Bishop considers suicide. But after a short meditation session with fellow postmen in his living room, and smoking cannabis stolen from his stepson, hallucinations bring forth his footballing hero, the famously philosophical Eric Cantona, who gives him advice. His relationship with Lily improves dramatically. Bishop finds the gun and confronts his stepson.

Ryan admits to his involvement with the drugs gang, and Bishop attempts to return the gun to the gangster. He is forced to keep it himself, however, when a Rottweiler is set on him in his car. The gangster then posts footage on YouTube of Bishop's humiliation. The entire family is then arrested by the police on a tip-off but they fail to find the gun as it is hidden in the fridge, inside a frozen chicken.

Eric Cantona then advises Bishop to seek help from his friends and to 'surprise' himself. Bishop organises 'Operation Cantona', sneaking dozens of fellow Manchester United fans – wearing Cantona masks (including Cantona himself) – into the gangster's house and humiliating him and his family, threatening to put the video of their operation onto YouTube, in turn. The film ends at Bishop's daughter's graduation day, where the family reunites in peace.



The film was shot on location in Greater Manchester[3] by Loach's company Sixteen Films.


The film's cast and crew at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.

The film competed in the main competition at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival.[4] It had its UK premiere on 1 June in Lowry Outlet Mall in Salford Quays, attended by Eric Cantona,[5] and was the gala presentation at the opening night of the Sydney Film Festival on 3 June.

The film was released in the United Kingdom and Ireland on 12 June. The film was scheduled to be shown at the Melbourne International Film Festival, but five days before opening night Loach withdrew it because the film festival was "in receipt of financial support from the State of Israel".[6]


The book for Looking For Eric is published by Route Publishing. It includes the full screenplay, extra scenes, colour photographs from the film and on set, and introductions from Paul Laverty, Ken Loach, Eric Cantona and production notes from the cast and crew.


As of January 2020, Looking for Eric has an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 99 reviews.[7] The film won the Magritte Award for Best Film in Coproduction.

Roger Ebert, who had praised many of Ken Loach's previous works, gave the film two stars out of four.[8] He said that he was surprised by the break from Loach's previous social realism, although he also said that Cantona was successful in his role.[8] Ebert said that "Steve Evets uses a Manchester accent so thick that many of the English themselves might not be able to understand it. Eric Cantona, who is French, is easier to understand."[8] Ebert had in the past defended Loach's use of Yorkshire dialect in the film Kes, which prevented the film from attaining a release in the US as it was not widely understood.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Looking for Eric (2010) - Box Office Mojo".
  2. ^ Martin Smith, "Working class life, two Erics and teamwork", (interview with Ken Loach), Socialist Review, June 2009
  3. ^ "BBC Manchester: Looking for Eric". BBC. May 2009. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  4. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Looking for Eric". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 9 May 2009.
  5. ^ "Cantona appears at Eric premiere". BBC News. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
  6. ^ "Melbourne International Film Festival: Looking for Eric Cancelled". melbournefilmfestival.com.au. Archived from the original on 22 July 2009. Retrieved 20 July 2009.
  7. ^ "Rotten Tomatoes: Looking for Eric". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 12 October 2009.
  8. ^ a b c Ebert, Roger. "Looking for Eric Movie Review (2009) - Roger Ebert".
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Kes Movie Review & Film Summary (1973) - Roger Ebert".

External links[edit]