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