Toni Erdmann: Film Review


I must put my hands up and say I don’t watch enough foreign language films and I’m trying to change this. Toni Erdmann has been nominated at a few awards so I had to check it out – and now I see what the fuss is about. It is utterly bizarre, funny and sweet.

Sandra Huller plays Ines, a workaholic who doesn’t know how to switch off. She is taken by surprise when her father Winfried (Peter Simonischek) shows up in Bucharest, where she is currently living for a work project. But rather than leave the city like Ines thinks, he dons a wig and fake teeth and follows her around under the alias Toni Erdmann.

This is bonkers and very imaginative but you can see what it’s trying to say about not taking life too seriously and taking the time to appreciate what you have rather than constantly worrying and stressing about work. I can relate to that. Obviously, it is a bizarre way to go about it but it is very funny and the whole concept is brilliant and produces some fantastic set pieces that made the whole room erupt with laughter.

It was obviously very funny but it is also sweet and quite serious in some places – especially when Ines is at work. Huller and Simonischek were brilliant at navigating these different tones.

My main issue with Toni Erdmann was the length. 2 hours and 42 minutes for a comedy is more than excessive and it didn’t need to be that long. It could have easily been 20-30 minutes shorter. Towards the end, I was thinking ‘it must be the end soon’ but it kept going and I began thinking where it was all going and how long it would take to get there. The jokes stopped being as funny because of this, which is a shame.

In cinemas Friday 3rd February 

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