The business-like approach sits perfectly with the story but underneath the footage is a brilliant script of the highest quality with theories and ideas that are so profoundly human.
In a recent interview, actress Sandra Huller said: ‘it isn’t a comedy – I’m not really sure why people think it is’ about her latest feature Toni Erdmann. There is a sense that all of the emotions and layers featured with the film are not just intended, but they are vital to its story. Sandra plays a huge part in the comedic elements of the film, and it is difficult to see past the idea that this is a comedy. Yet, she is right. Toni Erdmann is not a comedy. It is a film solely about father-daughter relationships and the fact that both father and daughter are hilarious is a complete sidetrack from the film’s message.
Toni Erdmann is the story of rising buisness woman Ines (Sandra Huller). Working with a client in the Romanian capital of Bucharest she receives a great shock when her father (Simon Simonichek) arrives after taking holiday to visit her. This soon turns sour after Ines misses a networking event. Days pass as she carries on with her work, until one night in a bar when she is approached by a very familiar man wearing a wig and a pair of false teeth.
It’s such a brilliantly intricate film. Each element of the Toni Erdmann’s make-up feels necessary to its story as a whole. Every part is clearly intended exactly the way it appears and even though it’s almost three hours long, it works so well. It’s dry and distant yet so absorbing with the central performances working perfectly. Huller and Simonischek create a series of hilarious situations that feel so barbaric they appear throughly real. It’s based around the whole idea of ‘you couldn’t write these things.’ It’s an otherworldly down to earth drama that’s so ridiculous it feels normal.
Toni Erdmann is a menagerie of comedy with serious relationship implications. The business-like approach sits perfectly with the story but underneath the footage is a brilliant script of the highest quality with theories and ideas that are so profoundly human. It manages to remove itself from reality just enough to take a step in the direction of profound value. There is a huge amount to be learned from the interactions within the film and it’s clear that a huge amount was learned before Toni Erdmann was even words on paper.
There is simply nothing misplaced about the film. The script is immaculate, the performances are intrinsically real and the direction is so subtly genius there is nothing to criticise. Toni Erdmann has been executed perfectly and every second of the two hours and 45 minutes is worth it.