Looking for Eric ★★★½

"Looking for Eric" is a quirky, strongly acted feel-good film that contains depressing elements, but it is ultimately an uplifting movie with several very funny moments and an emphasis on the importance of friendship. This time around, director Ken Loach ("It’s a Free World…") goes for a more optimistic tone.

The characters are compelling, believable, and humanly flawed, and they have their share of problems. One of the strengths of the movie lies in its portrayal of the main character’s life as a single dad with two teenage stepsons.

The scenes with Eric Cantona, while not exactly realistic, work really well and do not feel out of place. “Operation Cantona,” the climax of the film, is an over-the-top but appropriately entertaining way for the antagonists to get their comeuppance, and, interestingly, it relies more on ridicule than on violence. And don’t miss the end-credits clip in which Cantona talks about seagulls and sardines.

Steve Evets is excellent in the role of Eric Bishop. Portraying himself, Eric Cantona delivers a nice performance and is not afraid of a little self-parody. The protagonist’s stepsons, Ryan and Jess, are capably played by Gerard Kearns and Stefan Gumbs, respectively.