Film Review – Toni Erdmann (2016)

Title – Toni Erdmann (2016)

Director – Maren Ade (Everyone Else)

Cast – Peter Simonischek, Sandra Hüller, Thomas Loibl, Trystan Pütter, Ingrid Bisu

Plot – Oddball Winfried (Simonischek) takes up an alter ego known as Toni Erdmann in hope of reconnecting with his middle aged corporate working daughter Ines (Hüller).

“You have to do this or that, but meanwhile life is just passing by”

Review by Eddie on 09/10/2017

I feel at a loss when it comes to the love for beloved Oscar nominated German dramedy Toni Erdmann.

I’ve tried to understand why this excessive, criminally long and utterly weird (not funny) film, that at its core tells a rather generic and ordinary story of a father and his daughter has been so blatantly fawned over by many a top critic but I just can’t see or understand why Maren Ade’s tale has become the so-called classic it’s been labelled with.

Over 160 minutes of runtime we the audience get the “privilege” of following around the odd Winfried Conradi whose relationship with his business driven daughter Ines leads him to take up a persona of Toni Erdmann, a self-professed life coach that starts to follow Ines around to become a part of her working life. It’s a story with potential but told as dryly and blandly as Ade tells it, this ends up being a rare foreign film where you just can’t wait to see a more tightly structured and funny Hollywood remake.

There’s nothing wrong with Peter Simonischek or Sandra Hüller’s central performances as father and daughter duo Winfried and Ines and the two actors are both game to partake in some odd scenarios, from cupcake antics, odd birthday parties to awkward nights out with the girls, but Toni Erdmann has surely hoodwinked people into thinking strange and bizarre is in fact genius at work and while some who like their films cut from the bizarre corner of filmmaking will lap up Toni Erdmann’s fondness for the odd, there will be other viewers such as me you don’t buy into what Erdmann is selling us.

It will be interesting to see how Hollywood tackles the stories untypical nature, but there’s enough love flowing for the film around the place that acting legend Jack Nicholson has shunned his retirement plans to appear in the remake as the titular Erdmann while Girls superstar Lena Denham is attached to help work on the script, showcasing that Erdmann has its large portion of fans and few detractors.

Final Say –

Quite clearly Toni Erdmann wasn’t for me and I understand that I will be one of only a few who didn’t find this slow, charmless and cold experience that’s trying to be an odd yet touching tale of a father and daughter, a sight for sore eyes.

For those that get on board the journey of Winfried and his quest to reconnect to his daughter, Toni Erdman will be near 3 hours’ worth of quality dramatics with laugh out loud oddness, for the other bewildered few, Toni Erdman is one of last year’s most unduly praised experiences.

1 cupcake out of 5

6 responses to “Film Review – Toni Erdmann (2016)

  1. You’re not one of the few. I can’t find anyone who liked it. Indeed, when I saw it, I found nothing to say other than “so glad that’s over” and had no words to review it, at all. I thought it might be cultural, but my German friends liked it even less than I did. You are not alone!

  2. The plot didn’t interest me much, so I haven’t seen this yet. Perhaps it’d be best to wait for the remake. No matter how that turns out, I’m excited to see Jack Nicholson back on the big screen! 🙂

  3. I liked the beginning where we saw the father’s drama teaching work, but from then on the joke to run time rate was lacking. It felt as if we were supposed to laugh every time the father acted in a quirky manner, but given the story’s glacial pace and given that the father’s quirkiness is the blatant premise of the film, it wasn’t that striking when he actually showed it.

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