Movie Review

'Eric' On Netflix Review: Benedict Cumberbatch Elevates This Drama Which Struggles To Find Its Footing Amidst Myriad Themes

Outlook Rating:
3.5 / 5

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, 'Eric' is now streaming on Netflix. Is this drama worth watching or you can choose to skip it? Read the full review to find out.

Benedict Cumberbatch in 'Eric' Photo: Netflix

When the trailer of ‘Eric’ was unveiled by Netflix earlier last month, the Benedict Cumberbatch starrer got everyone talking. The drama surrounding a missing child and a broken family became one of the most anticipated releases of the year, all thanks to its cast and the plot. The period drama is set in New York City in the 1980s. Since the show started streaming on Netflix, it has also started trending on social media. In case you are planning to add ‘Eric’ to your list of weekend binge, then here’s all that you need to know about this riveting show.

‘Eric’: Story

This six-part series revolves around the disappearance of a young boy but delves deeper into the story of a shattered family and a father's desperate search to reunite with his son, aided by an unusual puppet. Set in the 1980s New York City, Vincent’s (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) son – Edgar (played by Ivan Morris Howe) goes missing when he goes to school by himself. When he goes missing, his parents file a complaint and launch a campaign to look for their son. However, as the cops try to find the clues, Vincent falls back into his habit of substance abuse. He starts to believe that if he gets Edgar’s puppet, Eric, on his show, he might see it and return home. As Vincent becomes convinced that Eric holds the key to finding Edgar, he faces increasing suspicion and isolation from those around him, including his work partner Lennie (Dan Fogler), who struggles to manage Vincent’s erratic behavior.

‘Eric’: Performances

When we talk about performances, it makes sense to start with the star of the show- Benedict Cumberbatch. The ‘Sherlock’ actor has immersed himself in the role of Vincent. He has beautifully captured the nuance of a character whose life is crumbling around him. The actor has skillfully encapsulated the various shades of his character – misery, grief, sadness, and even self-destruction. His screen presence will lure you in. Personally speaking, every inch of the actor was in the skin of Vincent, even his eyes spoke volumes.

Gaby Hoffman delivers a powerful performance as Cassie, portraying a mother overwhelmed by grief and a wife trapped in a failing marriage. However, McKinley Belcher III steals the spotlight as Detective Michael Ledroit. While his performance may not be as rich as Cumberbatch’s, but it holds its weight. He brings his richly layered character to life with ease. Overall, the entire case of this limited series has delivered fantastic performances.

‘Eric’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects

The writing by Abi Morgan deserves to be praised. She has crafted a meticulous plot that gives a glimpse of New York in the 80s. She has made sure to incorporate themes of corruption, racism, homophobia, broken homes, and so much more in this compact series. By touching upon these important themes, the makers have given the audience enough to look forward to in every episode. Every episode is substantial and meaty.

Additionally, the direction by Lucy Forbes compliments Morgan’s writing. She has weaved a riveting and dark drama that will leave you craving for more. While the series delves into all of these important issues, these same points weigh it down because it becomes too much for the audience to take it all in one go. Apart from this, the clever use of dark hues in the cinematography enhances the underlying sinister quality of the series.

Despite its deliberately slow pacing, the show keeps you glued by unveiling new clues and teasing the truth surrounding Edgar’s disappearance. The mystery surrounding the child’s fate—whether he is alive, dead, kidnapped, or murdered—keeps audiences on the edge of their seats, rendering the series as mind-bending as it is thrilling.

‘Eric’: Cast & Crew

Director: Lucy Forbes

Writer: Abi Morgan

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Ivan Morris Howe, Gaby Hoffmann, Roberta Colindrez, Jeff Hephner, McKinley Belcher III, Mark Gillis, Dan Fogler

Available On: Netflix

Duration: 6 episodes (52-55 minutes each)

Languages: English

‘Eric’: Can Kids Watch It?

Yes, with parental guidance.

Outlook’s Verdict

Throughout its six episodes, the makers of ‘Eric’ have skillfully integrated key characters and important themes into the narrative in gripping ways. In this portrayal of New York, suspicion hangs over everyone; even the wealthy and influential, including Vincent's affluent and politically connected family, are depicted as potential antagonists. Almost every character appears to harbor secrets or culpability, blurring the lines between innocence and guilt. This works for the show because you have something new to look forward to in every episode. But at the same time, the makers have added a lot of elements in this limited show because of which it struggles to find its footing and is reduced to just another story of how monsters are just the people around us. With strong performances, the show still makes for a good watch. I am going with 3.5 stars.