Toni Erdmann

Without warning a father comes to visit his daughter abroad. He believes that she lost her humor and therefore surprises her with a rampage of jokes.


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  • ★★★★ review by matt lynch on Letterboxd

    So when's the shitty Paul Feig remake with like Pacino and Rose Byrne?

    [puts in goofy dentures]

    Don't you dare steal my idea.

  • ★★★★½ review by davidehrlich on Letterboxd

    it's true.

    all of it.

    (i have some major misgivings about the last 15 minutes, which feel — at least on first viewing — that they blunt out what could have been one of the great movie endings in recent memory, but everything you heard from Cannes about Maren Ade's shaggy epic is right on the money. the shortest 160 minutes you'll spend at the movies this year).

  • ★★★★½ review by Eli Hayes on Letterboxd

    Almost everyone in my theater was laughing for about three hours straight. I think that speaks for itself; I've never quite had a movie-going experience like seeing this film with an audience.

  • ★★★★½ review by Filipe Furtado on Letterboxd

    “He was on old dog”.

    That the humanist ideal of reconstruction Europe and the current European community can’t be reconciled is old news, but it takes an Andy Kaufmanesque prankster in a very old fashioned sentimental mission to, if not exactly exhume the corpse at least bring it into sharp relief. You'll laugh, you'll cry and things will just pass away. And it is really very very funny. Experimental human behavior played with broad Cassavetian exuberance at its best. Also, in the age of bloated festival film, it is always joy to get a 160 minutes one that needs every second of it to count.

  • ★★★★ review by Jonathan White on Letterboxd

    TIFF16 Film #1

    Reason for Pick – Eli’s Hayes’ review out of Cannes

    Toni Erdmann is a complex dance that paints the outline of the relationship between a lonely father and his career occupied daughter, who's living abroad.

    I went in with the impression that this was going to be two hours and forty minutes of non-stop laughter. It isn’t. While there are frequent laugh-out-loud moments, and two scenes that sends the audience into fits, the remainder ranges from poignant to painful to awkward. Writer / Director Maren Ade isn’t afraid to linger on a shot, often cutting a few seconds after the natural beat, which gives a feeling of reality over scripted drama. She also isn’t afraid to use her generous runtime on simple scenes where nothing really happens in service of more fully defining Ines, the workaholic daughter in concealed crisis. I’m sure many will think the film would be better if the runtime was culled, but I’m not so sure, I think the time spent is necessary to truly be able to walk in Ines’ shoes as she navigates a job that expects everything of her.

    During the Q and A, Ade spoke about ‘performance’ as a theme that runs through the film. This is such an interesting concept, as Ines’ life is all about her performance on the job, and our other protagonist, Winfried, Ines’ outré father, delivers a different kind of performance. His mission in life, at least at this point in his life, is to shock a smile out of those around him. Some of the most wonderful moments in the film is seeing tolerantly bemused reactions from family members whom have grown accustomed to his antics. Ines, though, finds it tiresome. That’s where Winfried decides to up his game, and Toni Erdmann is born.

    Director Ade never tugs the heartstrings, and never sends in the violins. There are probably only two ‘touching’ moments in the film; they are brief, and they are completely earned. And as to the laughs, they are not only earned, but they are some of the most masterfully created pieces I’ve ever seen. There’s very little exposition in Toni Erdman, but one scene, the ‘singing’ scene, tells more about the backstory between father and daughter than two dozen pages of dialogue. Likewise, the ‘party’ scene a decisive character self-realization and metamorphoses that barely relies on a single word of dialogue.

    Ade brings the film in for a gentle landing that keeps the tone of what came before, yet offers a satisfying conclusion to a journey that seems, on the surface, has only moved an inch, but under the surface a vastly greater extent.

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