Opening 5 Nov 2009
The newest Ken Loach film tells about Eric Bishop (Steve Evets) – father, stepfather, grandfather and mailman – who can't remember the last time he was happy. When still young, he left his wife and baby and now that a (babysitting) situation has arisen where he must finally come face to face with his ex-wife Lily (Stephanie Bishop), he is terrified. His second marriage was also a flop, but he lives with his two stepsons – one of whom is being harassed by a criminal. Eric just can't get a grip on life or deal with the mistakes of his past and move on. His colleagues and "mates" from the post office rally around. They try to cheer him up as best they can and even use self-help books to guide them in their sometimes comical efforts.
One particularly bad evening when Eric is in a depression and sitting in his bedroom in front of his life-sized poster of Eric Cantona ("played by lui-meme” as it says in the credits at the end of the film), Cantona appears in a vision. Cantona (former soccer player with Manchester United) offers to become his personal trainer and help him cope – not just with his new regime of exercise but also in philosophizing about life. Eric's daily life and his evenings with Cantona are the episodes that follow. Together they reminisce (even dance rock 'n roll together), discuss proverbs, and talk about Cantona's days of glory in soccer. Eric trusts him and learns to trust others. He finally sees new possibilities and begins to form a good friendship with Lily and manages with the help of his post office pals to scare off the criminal who had a hold on his stepson.
If you don't know Eric Cantona, this will be a great way to learn about him. The film is a tribute to him. (Thelma Freedman)