Indie Gems: Toni Erdmann

Father/daughter bonding? No, thank you.

Winfried (Peter Simonischek) is a music teacher and frequent practical jokster who stages an impromptu visit on his highly successful and very busy daughter Ines (Sandra Hüller) in Bucharest. She's trying to secure a contract with a very important client and isn't having any of her dad's jokes. So he makes up a persona, Toni Erdmann, with a bad wig and fake teeth and poses as her CEO's "life coach." She's too embarrassed to say anything so she plays along and ends up bonding with him more than she expected. 

It might seem strange that I'm recommending this after I say the following sentence, but this movie is way too fucking long. At 2 hours and 47 minutes, I feel like there were a few times that had I got up and walked away and came back 10 minutes later, I wouldn't have missed much. It's like last year's American Honey in that sense. But Toni Edrmann is strangely engrossing for most of its run time. 

I was worried I'd get dad joke overload but that didn't happen. I ended up feeling sad for Ines and Winfried instead when they just couldn't connect. It made me root for them, and also made me paranoid that something terrible was going to happen to ruin it all.

Director Maren Ade has a great eye, I loved her previous film Everyone Else. I also had it as one of my Indie Gems a while back. She directs Simonischek and Hüller into very good performances. If you've got the time, this film has moments of pure brilliance. 

Grade: B-

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "I thought it would be good team building.." Ines (Sandra Hüller) 

16 comments:

  1. This sounds weird as Hell and long as f--k...but if given the chance, I'd be in.

    Thanks for the heads up on this one. I'm pretty sure I would have never heard of this otherwise.

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    1. For a film nominated for an Oscar it didn't seem to get much of a release in the states at all.

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    1. I am too, I would've been pissed had I sat through a nearly 3 hour movie and hated it. lol

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  3. I do want to see this as I don't films that are long as it is worth its length. After all, this is probably small potatoes compared to Satantango which was about 7 and 1/2 hours.

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  4. hmmmm i thought this was just okay, and yes, it was waaaaay too long

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    1. I think it would've been better with a good trimming.

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  5. It is way too long, yeah. I actually did get up and leave a couple of times, but I paused it. It felt like it took an entire afternoon to watch it. Probably did.

    At the time I really liked it, though! Now I'm not sure, it just didn't stick with me. That happens sometimes, a movie is great while watching it, but forgettable, personally.

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    1. That happens to me fairly often, especially with the amount of movies we all watch. I think it's interesting to see how opinions can change after some time away from the films themselves.

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  6. This sounds good for when I have the attention span for a long movie. :-)

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  7. I've stayed away from American Honey because of the complaints about the film's pacing, that conbinded with characters that seem unsufferable is a good reason for me to never see the film.

    Here the lengh didn't actually bother me. I found thee father-daughter relationship quite touching, and I lauged a lot throughout the film.

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    1. I know the feeling. Comparing the two, I'd say this one is better than American Honey.

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  8. This movie was on my radar because of the Oscar buzz but I'm not sure if it even got a cinematic release in the UK! That runtime is making my eyes water, though. I'm going to hunt it down on VOD and watch it over 2 nights though, because it sounds well worth a watch!

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  9. This was one of my favorites last year. Loved every second (ESPECIALLY the birthday party) and I would have happily watched another three hours if it was that long.

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