Joss Barratt

Directed by the celebrated British auteur and socialist Ken Loach (The Wind That Shakes the Barley), Looking for Eric centers around Eric Bishop, a hapless mail sorter in Manchester, England, left by his imprisoned wife to take care of his two stepsons. After a car wreck in the opening scene, Bishop begins an ugly mental descent. Despite attempts by his hopelessly but comically misguided friends to cheer him up—Hey! Let's barrage him with shitty jokes to make him laugh, because, you know, laughter is the best medicine! Oh, that didn't work? Here, let's do these meditation exercises from a self-help book!—Bishop doesn't budge.

One day after work, presumably frustrated by his idiot friends, Bishop swipes a nugget of hash from his stepson and rolls a spliff. While he smokes, he stares up at a poster of his hero and favorite soccer star, Eric Cantona. Bishop asks the poster, "Did you ever have a shrink, Eric?" Immediately, as if to say, "No, but you sure as hell need one," the poster comes alive and begins waxing philosophical with Bishop.

Bishop's goal for the first half of the movie is to rekindle a relationship with his first love/wife/child's mother, Lily. And with the help of the drug-induced hallucination of Cantona and his advice, that goes all well and good until the film's writer apparently decided the love story was boring and turned the whole mess into a gangster revenge flick. I wouldn't call it a plot twist, more of a plot reversal, but once again, Bishop's friends come marching in (they actually help this time) to defeat the bad guys. Cantona's gem of advice resounds: "You have to trust your teammates. If not, we are lost." recommended