Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Looking for Eric

Watched this film on DVD a couple of weekends ago and loved it - and I'm no footy fan!  It was funny, inspiring, and quirkily wise - with all those Eric Cantona aphorisms - like "when the seagulls follow the trawler it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea" and "he who is afraid to throw the dice will never throw a six".  The real wisdom in the film is the way in which the men, younger and older befriend each other.  There are very few films about friendships between men - yet we know how important our relational connections are, particularly when we are mentally or emotionally vulnerable.  I really like the humanness of the characters - flawed, all of them, who together are stronger than they could have ever thought possible.  Years earlier Eric walked out on his wife and baby during his first panic attack.  His fear and shame made it impossible for him to find his way back to them then and you get the sense that he's never really been able to get his life 'on track' again.  His love of footy has been the highlight of his days.  The men who step in to act like friends when he needs them are his workmates.  They can see he is not coping. One of them, Meatballs, gets them all together to talk about how they might be able to help and support Eric. Some of their attempts are pretty woeful but because they do genuinely care about Eric, the postman, their ability to connect with him and with each other over more than just footy grows apace. At his most desperate point Eric begins to have imagined conversations with his football hero, Eric Cantona, who, in Eric's imagination becomes a sort of life coach. It is wonderful to watch Eric, the postman gaining confidence in himself and beginning to make changes and boundaries in his relationships. The overriding drama that Eric is at his wits end to solve he one day shares with his friends. In conversation they bounce ideas off of each other, enabling Eric to hit upon the plan that does solve the problem - no doubt then added upon and improved by his friends who all band together to carry it out.  It is a very uplifting film