Winfried doesn’t see much of his working daughter Ines. The suddenly student-less music teacher decides to surprise her with a visit after the death of his old dog. It’s an awkward move because serious career woman Ines is working on an important project as a corporate strategist in Bucharest. The geographical change doesn’t help the two to see more eye to eye. Practical joker Winfried loves to annoy his daughter with corny pranks. What’s worse are his little jabs at her routine lifestyle of long meetings, hotel bars and performance reports. Father and daughter reach an impasse, and Winfried agrees to return home to Germany. Enter flashy “Toni Erdmann”: Winfried’s smooth-talking alter ego. Disguised in a tacky suit, weird wig and even weirder fake teeth, Toni barges into Ines’ professional life, claiming to be her CEO’s life coach. As Toni, Winfried is bolder and doesn’t hold back, but Ines meets the challenge. The harder they push, the closer they become. In all the madness, Ines begins to understand that her eccentric father might deserve some place in her life after all.
Toni Erdmann is one of the most stirring cinematic experiences to come around in a long time.
The Film Stage
Surprising, awkward, refreshing and, at times, downright hilarious, German director Maren Ade’s dazzlingly original follow-up to her 2009 Berlinale Silver Bear winner Everyone Else is that rarest of things: a nearly three-hour-long German-Austrian arthouse comedy-drama that (almost) never drags.
According to the most basic laws of cinema, Toni Erdmann, Maren Ade’s third feature as a writer-director (she has five times that many credits as a producer), shouldn’t work. It’s practically one long string of nesting, oxymoronic self-cancelling paradoxes: here is the world’s first genuinely funny German comedy of embarrassment.
The Hollywood Reporter
The film’s no-nonsense, visually plain documentary-style of shooting feels utterly appropriate to its sly evocation of the absurdities and banalities of modern life. Just brilliant.
Time Out London
It is tender and melancholy, yet its absurdist twists, played with the straightest face, make it one of the most uniquely rewarding experiences I’ve had at the movies all year.
Toni Erdmann pairs carefully constructed, three-dimensional characters in a tenderly funny character study that’s both genuinely moving and impressively ambitious.
Critics 94% Audience rating 82%
Top Critics positive review 100% Audience liked it 95%
Stockbridge Audience: 75.0%
Total no. of votes 45
Very Poor 3