Sunday, February 19, 2017

Movie Review: "Toni Erdmann" (2016)

Image Source
Movie"Toni Erdmann"
Director: Maren Ade
Year: 2016
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 42 minutes

A man who enjoys practical jokes visits his career-oriented daughter in Bucharest and takes on the alter ego Toni Erdmann, regularly showing up at his daughter's business functions and social gatherings.

"Toni Erdmann" is a German and English language film written and directed by Maren Ade. It stars Peter Simonischek as music teacher Winfried Conradi. He is a bit of a joker and always fashions himself into strange costumes or makeup work. After his dog passes away, Winfried decides to visit his daughter Ines, played by Sandra Hüller, in Bucharest. She is very career-oriented, driven to succeed, and rigid as a person, and once her dad arrives unannounced, his presence becomes quite a distraction, especially when he dons some fake teeth and a bad wig and starts going by the name Toni Erdmann.

This is a slice of life character sketch about silly man and his all-too-serious daughter. Peter Simonischek puts on a brilliant comedic yet touching performance as Winfried Conradi, aka Toni Erdmann. He is a very charming, outgoing character that seems to really embrace the fun of life. He has numerous hilarious interactions with many different people where he spins tall tales, mainly to amuse himself. Whether he tells others he had to rent a new daughter because his is so busy, or that he constantly wears false teeth and a brunette wig pretending to be his alter ego Toni, or that he shows up at his daughter's birthday dressed as a giant fuzzy monster never saying a word just standing there like a big hairy tree, it is clear Winfried is always having fun. Ines, on the other hand, seems unsure of her place in work and in life. She obviously hates having to kiss ass for her company by going to late night cocktail runs and shopping trips with company-men's wives, but does it to keep herself busy and to advance herself. When her father shows up, she can't get away fast enough. Simonischek and Hüller have great chemistry together, even though their relationship is strained because of business, distance, and a lack of understanding between her strict, no nonsense Ines, and his hippie-esque Winfried.

Being a character sketch, there is not a series of intense or bombastic plot points to divulge, but rather a relationship to explore and an understanding to discover between the two principle characters. Because of this, the 2 hour and 42 minute run time of "Toni Erdmann" is both unnecessary and seems far too excessive for the simple painting of a picture of this father and daughter duo and their character arcs. There are a few scenes here and there that seem a bit superfluous or elongated for no reason, and though they don't drag down the movie as a whole, they certainly could have been truncated.

"Toni Erdmann" won't be for everyone because many will be put off by the combination of this aging, meddling father and his mostly unforgiving daughter. Their relationship may be awkward and abnormal to some because "Toni" inserts himself into Ines's life constantly, hoping for a little affection from her in return. We personally enjoyed this film and the strange, quirky relationship of a tender but goofy father and his unyielding and uptight daughter. Even if it is bizarre and meandering at times, it is bolstered by two really terrific performances from Simonischek and Hüller. We can't wait to see what Kristen Wiig and Jack Nicholson bring to the Hollywood remake of this film and see what, if anything, gets omitted for a domestic audience.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

No comments:

Post a Comment