TIFF 2016: Our Review of ‘Toni Erdmann’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, Theatrical, TIFF 2016 by - September 06, 2016

Special Presentations


Director Maren Ade gives us a truly funny film with a very poignant message that manages to display hopelessness, recklessness and even shrewdness, things we don’t even show our own families.

In Toni Erdmann, we become witnesses of those hidden selves of a semi-retired schoolteacher and his somewhat estranged daughter. Austrian actor Peter Simonichek plays Winifried, the divorced, semi-retired German schoolteacher who amazes and frustrates friends and family alike, through his penchant for silly humour and practical jokes. Winifred is the sort of man who will wear funny wigs and false teeth to amuse himself and others.

One day his daughter Ines (Sandra Hüller) comes for a family visit. She has been working in Bucharest, where she is a sophisticated management consultant, advising an oil company on making savings through layoffs. What ensues when these two come together is a series of cringe-worthy, uncomfortable, but very funny moments. Throughout his visit Winifred somehow becomes ‘Toni Erdmann’, a pseudonym for a supposed business coach who happens to know Ines.

At over two hours, the slow-building poignancy in the story become evident. Their humanity comes through in their sense of sadness as well as their sense of humour. In a way, Winifred and Ines find a way to connect throughout all these messy situations.

Ade gives us a story that is poignant and relatable; that of a fragile father-daughter relationship. Toni Erdmann is a story with deep meaning.


This post was written by
Heidy has a love of fine art history, films, books, world issues, music and science, leading her to share her adventures on her website (www.hyemusings.ca) , and as a contributor at other outlets. She loves sharing the many happenings in Toronto and hopes people will go out and support the arts in any fashion possible.

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