Ines Conradi (Sandra Hüller), who is working for the international oil industry in Bucharest, gets a sudden visit from her father (Peter Simonischek), an incorrigible prankster, who can see how unhappy she is… Director Maren Ade based this story on her own father and exaggerated his behavior, resulting in a comedy about a free-spirited man who keeps showing up at the most inappropriate and potentially career-harming moments for his daughter, dressed up as an obviously wig-wearing, larger-than-life buffoon called ”Toni Erdmann”. Full of awkward, funny moments, but it’s also touching at times, with terrific lead performances. If only the running time were more reasonable…
2016-Germany-Austria. 162 min. Color. Produced by Maren Ade, Jonas Dornbach, Janine Jackowski, Michel Merkt. Written and directed by Maren Ade. Cast: Peter Simonischek (Winfried Conradi/Toni Erdmann), Sandra Hüller (Ines Conradi), Lucy Russell (Steph), Michael Wittenborn, Thomas Loibl, Trystan Pütter.
European Film Awards: Best Film, Director, Actor (Simonischek), Actress (Hüller), Screenwriter.
Last word: “Peter and I systematically tried out various approaches. The hardest thing was for him to hide what a skilled actor he is. Winfried’s supposed to be an ordinary teacher playing a role, not a professional, and it’s extremely difficult for a good actor to play a bad one. Peter himself would have the skills to make Toni seem much more real, to heighten the drama and make him even funnier, but the humor arises precisely from the fact that it’s Winfried who’s playing Toni and not a professional actor. Getting that just right was hard work.” (Ade, Emanuel Levy)