Toni Erdmann

By | Begun 03/10/2017
Posted in Movies | , ,
Family of Origin Exasperation in Toni Erdmann
Best humor tug-o'-war since Sela Ward & Tom HanksSony Pictures Classics

4 Stars (Great)Why I Saw It: Year-end screening for Houston Film Critics Society awards consideration, because I love a good drama and it was the Foreign Language favorite of several colleagues on my “If They Say It” list.
What I Thought: It bears two small implausibilities that drop the fifth star, but otherwise it’s superb. Deceptively nuanced, it creeps up on your heart the way Ines’ dad crept up on hers, and you’ll never feel its substantial length. Word has it that an American version (also from writer/director Ade) is in the works, starring Jack Nicholson and Kristin Wiig; this holds solid promise, but I’d encourage seeing the original first. (The first report I read mentioned Kristin Stewart as Ines, which sounded pretty well perfect; I’m unconvinced with Wiig but hope I’ll be surprised.) (Update: The more I think about it, the better I like the Wiig idea, but I’m still not persuaded she has the command of nuance; her drama lands like a lead balloon. If she can keep the silly grounded and the dramatic light, she could actually put herself on dark horse awards radar. Bring us Annie Montrose on steroids, and fingers crossed!)

Toni Erdmann. Dir. Maren Ade (also wrote). Perf. Peter Simonischek, Sandra Hüller, Michael Wittenborn, Ingrid Bisu, Thomas Loibl. Sony Pictures Classics, 2016.

When a practical-joking father suspects that life isn’t going quite as well for his high-powered daughter as she makes out, he cooks up a plan to help her regain her spark.

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