Toni Erdmann

Toni Erdmann ★★★★½

Added to: 2016 Ranked
Added to: Intelligent Comedies List
Added to: The Emotional Gutpunch-list
Crossing this off of my Little Hype-a-de-Hype List

Toni Erdmann is something that seems inexplicable yet wholly true. It is at once a most necessary call for humanity and a hilarious farce about just that same thing. Maren Ade has made a film that's equally hilarious and equally dramatic and it's almost unbelievable how it can exist and stay relevant for its entire running time.

The story is actually as simple-minded as with any comedy. A father (Peter Simonischek) is worried about his daughter (Sandra Hüller) who works a high-end job in the oil industry. She seems to have alienated from him and the rest of the family and only cares for her career and succes. She seems to have lost the ability to care for humor and actual fun like her father once taught her, a long time ago. When the father pays a surprise visit to her in Bukarest, shit almost immediately hits the fan. Old, pranking Winfried tries to cheer her up and goof around with her bosses and colleagues, seemingly the only way he knows how to connect with people. This only upsets daughter Ines and as fast as he appeared in her life, he is forced to leave again. After this already peculiar first act, the story has actually barely started. After Winfried leaves he reappears as a curly haired coach/consultant with extremely crooked teeth, named Toni Erdmann. As his alter ego he once again tries to influence his daughter's life with some of the most surreal scenes to follow.

From this moment on Toni Erdmann becomes even more excessive as Winfried dives into the most private parts of his daughter's life. These strangely humorous situations eventually create some very tender scenes that very tightly study the tragic relationship between a father and a daughter. The film is weirdly enough very simple in its actual storyline and both the dragging conversations between the executives as the low-brow comedic scenes between Winfried and Ines add to the immens sense of heart within this film. In its whole 160 minutes this film keeps its hands tightly on the strings of your heart as it pulls them at just the right moments.

It is actually pretty hard to describe this film as it is so thinly wrapped around this rather simple concept of a dad trying to cheer up his daughter. It essentially isn't much more than that, but the things that are revealed to us through the amount of subtext within this film is astounding. There is so much told through these performances and this tightly written script, it's almost unbelievable. Actually, yeah, this film is unbelievable, inconceivable and what not. The fact that an almost three hour comedy-drama has gotten so much praise and has actually made such a strong stance within the genre, is nothing short of a miracle.

See this as soon as you can. I myself can't wait till I get to see it again!
BRILLIANCE!!

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