Toni Erdmann Reviewed By Jarred Tito



The Premise
Winfried doesn't see much of his working daughter Ines. He pays her a surprise visit in Bucharest, where she's busy as a corporate strategist. The geographical change doesn't help them to see more eye to eye. Practical joker Winfried annoys his daughter with corny pranks and jabs at her routine lifestyle of meetings and paperwork. Father and daughter reach an impasse, and Winfried agrees to go home to Germany. Enter Toni Erdmann: Winfried's flashy alter ego. Disguised in a tacky suit, weird wig and fake teeth, Toni barges into Ines' work circle, claiming to be her CEO's life coach. As Toni, Winfried doesn't hold back, and Ines meets the challenge. The harder they push, the closer they become. In all the madness, Ines begins to see that her eccentric father deserves a place in her life.

The Review
"Toni Erdmann" is a delightful and charming film which instils hope, laughter and a sense of fulfilment as we follow the eccentric behaviour of Toni, a divorced and now retired music teacher, as he attempts to win back the affectations of his now estranged, workaholic daughter. Aside from the few occasions when I actually did blurt out a few ‘laugh out loud’ moments, this film is more of a humorous, satirical look at life that is laced with some real human truths revolving around the fundamental relationship models that we each endure at some level. For example, the relationship between father and daughter, boyfriend and girlfriend, father and daughter’s friends, daughter and daughter’s work, daughter and daughter’s boss and father pretending to be the German ambassador. As unlikely as it may seem, the story plot is very well thought out and is actually done very well.
Though slow in story pace, the emotional pace of the film moves along quite quickly which lifts the overall pace of the film which in turn allows enough time for each scene to release a full complement of feelings and reactions. There are short scenes which take us through a cocktail of emotions in a matter of moments. In one particular scene, an occasion where Toni enters the flat of his daughter during a celebration unannounced and in disguise. It is her birthday and already the scene is set in a very compromising and embarrassing state.  There is a real sense of fear, regret, embarrassment, intrigue and delight within the room, which adds to the tension. Toni makes his entrance in a very casual and unthreatening manner while at the same his entrance completely turns the risqué event on its head. A true kaleidoscope of emotional intrigue which was nothing short of masterful film making.
The film is episodic and so moves from one situation to another and although each new situation is original, each scene is quite novel containing an almost separate objective within itself whilst at the same time is woven into the super-objective of what I see as two parts, reconciliation and contentment.
Apparently, an English-language remake of "Toni Erdmann" is in the making which will possibly feature Jack Nicholson in the leading role. Quite a good choice if Nicholson is up for it. Hopefully he will be. That being said, there is a certain quality that European filmmakers bring to the screen that I’m not completely sure their American counterparts will be able to capture. Well I wish them all the very best and I look forward to seeing their version. Who knows, perhaps they’ll take a risk and make something that the audience wants and not something that they [producers] think the audience wants. In any case, “Toni Erdmann” is a remarkable film that has some wonderful performances from Peter Simonischek and Sandra Hüller as well as a host of other actors. Both author and director have demonstrated a remarkable talent for revealing the complexity and suppleness of the human spirit.       
The Verdict
A must-see movie that is funny and inspiring, honest and simple, thoughtful and endearing and most certainly deserving of any praise and esteem it receives. I highly recommend a viewing.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 16th February 2017
Rating: R16 – Contains Sex scenes, nudity, drug use & offensive language
Duration: 162 minutes 
Genre:  Comedy Drama
Starring: Peter Simonischek, Sandra Hüller, Lucy Russell, Vlad Ivanov, Hadewych Minis, Ingrid Bisu, Trystan Pütter, John Keogh
Director: Maren Ade (Everyone Else)

The Extras
Winfried Conradi is loosely based on Maren Ade's father who actually likes to put in fake teeth to joke with people.

Toni Erdmann (2016) was one of the the best-reviewed and most popular films at the 69th Cannes International Film Festival, but it didn't receive any awards by the 'Official Competition' jury. Major critics like Justin Chang, Manohla Dargis, Kenneth Turan, Peter Bradshaw and Guy Lodge wrote that the decisions of the jury were "baffling". There was nearly a consensus, that "Toni Erdmann" would have been a deserving Palme d'Or winner and that a rare opportunity to give the top award to a female filmmaker was missed at Cannes.

120 hours of footage were shot during 56 shooting days.

Director Maren Ade spent over a year editing the film. During the process she gave birth to her second child.

After a limited release on only 98 screens in Germany, Toni Erdmann (2016) entered the box-office charts in the 5th position. It had the weekend's best per-screen average and the best per-screen average for a German film in 2016.

Official submission of Germany for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 89th Academy Awards in 2017.

According to writer/director Maren Ade one inspiration for Winfried's special brand of irritating humor was late comedian Andy Kaufman.


The naked party scene has been deemed nude scene of the year by Vulture.