German comedy-drama about a father trying to reconnect with his adult daughter. Nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes 2016.... More
"Practical joker Winfried disguises himself as flashy 'Toni Erdmann' to get busy Ines's attention and change her corporate lifestyle. The father-daughter challenge reaches absurd proportions until Ines begins to see that her eccentric father deserves a place in her life… " (Cannes)Hide
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BY Paul Casserly Flicks Writer
From the opening scene, in which our protagonist turns an innocent courier delivery into a work of performance art, this film delivers surprises, shocks and cringe-inducing comedy at an impressive rate.... More
Winfried (Peter Simonischek) is an ageing music teacher with an overactive practical joker gland. His retirement prompts him to visit his estranged daughter Ines (Sandra Hüller), a corporate cold fish working as a strategist for a multinational in Bucharest. The odd-couple manage to cohabitate until dad’s incessant pranksterism drives the workaholic Ines insane and she packs him off to Germany.
That’s when Toni Erdmann comes in, he’s Winfried’s alter ego, aided by a disgusting set of prosthetic teeth and industrial-strength bullshitting. He poses as the life coach of his daughter’s CEO, and embarks on a hilarious gate crash of various corporate functions, even passing himself off as a drooling German ambassador. Les Patterson would be proud.
The father/daughter dynamic is the main event here, and it builds to a wonderfully intense conclusion, but the film has many layers, and somehow manages to play as a powerful satire on social dislocation, corporate culture and inequality along the way.
At 162 minutes it may be a touch ambitious, and yes, Toni will eventually drive you mad, but like his daughter you’ll eventually forgive the testing moments of exasperation. I struggle to think of other films that capture the same magic, but as I watched I pondered the Coen Brothers, Jacques Tati, and Ricky Gervais. Director Maren Ade and her stars Simonischek and Hüller have played a blinder.Hide
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BY cinemusefilm superstar
It is hard to... More imagine a more mismatched duo: Winfried Conradi (Peter Simonischek) is the epitome of the irritating reconstructed divorced hippie father. He lives alone, seemingly half a century behind everyone else, and loves his own ‘dad jokes’ and clownish antics. When his beloved dog dies, he wants to re-connect with his corporate consultant daughter Ines (Sandra Huller), but his surprise arrival in her city is inauspicious. She barely acknowledges his presence while continuing to do the things that high-potential upwardly mobile young women do to impress and advance their prospects. From here forward, Winfried wants to save his daughter from a shallow heartless career where firing people, ruining lives, and being fluent in corporate-babble gains respect and reward. Like fathers around the world, he slips into and out of comedic personas to embarrass offspring into self-recognition. His chief alter-ego is Toni Erdmann, alternatively a life coach, Ambassador, or businessman, depending on who Ines introduces him to. In each role, he is able to prick her conscience into seeing herself as the sterile human she has become. In one scene, he tells her boss of a venture where you can hire a daughter to replace one who has no time for you, and in another, he disarms her by asking “are you even human?”. The longer he stays, the more cracks appear in her constructed persona and a softening light peeps through.
Within this linear plotline, there are several sub-stories that work as standalone comedic vignettes. Most contribute to the narrative, but some will leave viewers wondering what on earth just happened? The emotionless sexual encounter between Ines and a colleague is fertile ground for feminist analysis; the off-key singing of “The Greatest Love of All” by Ines is both poignant and ridiculous; and the naked lunch with a hairy guest monster can only be understood through a Beckett-like absurdist lens. At two hours and forty-two minutes, this film requires faith and patience. The pace is slow and another session in the editing suite would have helped without losing what is good and interesting. Fortunately, the acting performances are excellent, with an almost cameo-like deadpan-realism that is delivered convincingly by its relatively unknown stars.
One of the striking things about this film is how not-like-Hollywood it feels. There is nothing formulaic in the narrative nor are viewers pushed into an emotional corner. It is funny, sincere, definitely original, and far too long. By using humour intelligently rather than to exploit the quick gag for a loud laugh, it offers warm insight into the universal father-daughter bond that is as unorthodox as it is endearing.Hide
BY adamatdramatrain superstar
Don’t let the slow pace of the first act fool you, because the initially meandering pace lays the narrative groundwork, earning audience investment in its characters as real people, complete with hilarious faults, foibles and fantasies.
Farcical, laugh-out-loud funny and... More touching, yes even sentimental, Toni Erdmann brings the words “German” and “comedy” together with a raucous, jubilant, twisted and hugely welcome wallop of wunderba!Hide
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