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During the Depression, Jimmy Gralton returns home to Ireland after ten years of exile in America. Seeing the levels of poverty and oppression, the activist in him reawakens and he looks to re-open the dance hall that led to his deportation.
Eric Bishop, a middle-aged postman working for the Manchester sorting office, is going through a dreadful crisis. For starters, his second life companion has not resurfaced although she was released from prison a few months ago. He is left alone with two stepsons to look after, which is no bed of roses since the two teens disrespect him and keep disobeying him. To make matters worse, Ryan, the older boy, fascinated by Zac, a dangerous gangster, has accepted to hide his gun in Eric's house. On the other hand, he is asked by Sam, his student daughter who has a newborn baby,to get back in touch with Lily, his separated wife. Now, Eric left her not long after she gave back to their daughter. As a result Eric panics... Having lost all his bearings, Eric Bishop soliloquizes face to the poster of his idol, another Eric, French footballer Eric Cantona, when the latter appears just like the genie out of Aladdin's lamp. Through a series of aphorisms peculiar to him, the footballer-philosopher ... Written by
A flawed masterpiece....just like Cantona himself.
Man Utd fans will obviously love this and I'm not a Utd fan. However i have to say this is the most entertaining film of Ken Loach's since Bread & Roses nearly a decade ago. It has a good story and is realistically acted by a cast of unknowns and semi-familiar faces. For a film about a legendary and iconic footballer it doesn't ram football down the throats of the non-fans. What the film does do is bring up just how important football is for many people, the way it can unite and connect them in a way that has otherwise disappeared in Britain.
I won't give any of the story away but this film drags you down to a point where you wonder how the protagonist will get out of a very dire dilemma. Yet the ending is so well written you are guaranteed to come out of the cinema smiling at the way just desserts are dished out. The film is brutal in places and the language strong yet the excellent acting keeps it watchable and Monsieur Cantona himself seems very comfortable in front of a film camera (although sometimes his accent makes his dialog a little hard to understand). Cantona plays with his image wonderfully, being both self important and yet always likable and sometimes quite happy to deflate his own ego, being respectful about how lucky he was to have had such a memorable and legendary career without ever being truly arrogant (a fact a certain Mr C Ronaldo could do well to absorb) and acknowledging the role of the fans in his career. Lets put it another way, King Eric will always be remembered and respected in this country by all supporters for his great ability and the respect he had for the game and his club. Ronaldo will just be remembered as a talented but greedy young man who left probably the biggest club in the world for a larger pay packet.
Its difficult for me to say any more without giving away the plot but lets just say this is a film about never giving up hope when all seems lost because sometimes help will come from the most unexpected sources.
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