Review in Brief: Toni Erdmann (2016)

Pretty much every review I’ve seen of TONI ERDMANN has been focussed on how unexpectedly good a two-and-a-half hour German comedy turns out to be. I find that overly reductive and more than a little patronising. American comedies are often too long, humour from across the globe is just as likely to hit or to fall flat. Toni Erdmann is simply a leisurely-paced tale of unhealthy family relationships and the bosses of large European companies being ruthless monsters. The performances, especially Sandra Hüller, are excellent, the situations uniquely funny, so when and if the remake with Jack Nicholson happens they are going to have to transpose this story of a highly dysfuntional father-daughter relationship to a hard-hitting equivalent locale. Writer-director Maren Ade brings the film real heart and soul but also more than a little anger, both at the socio-political climate of the EU and at families who block off their emotions to be more formidable at work or perhaps just because they’ve forgotten how to talk. SSP

About Sam Sewell-Peterson

Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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