Screened as part of NZIFF 2016
Writer/director Maren Ade’s epic comedy about a prankster dad’s campaign to connect with his mortified workaholic daughter was the hands-down audience favourite at Cannes, and universally tipped to win. Assuming the persona of a clownish ‘life coach’, the eponymous anti-hero lays siege to the corporate lifestyle.
“Trust in the creative impulse informs every aspect of the film, from Ade’s dazzling script which has just enough of a classical comedic structure to support two hours and 42 minutes of surprises big and small, to her direction, which is designed to liberate the actors as much as possible while the camera rolls, to the performances (Simonischek and Hüller seem to be as amazed as we are by the things their characters lead them to do)…
The last 45 minutes contains four set pieces that take a film that is already great to a higher (say, The Rules of the Game) level, and the less you know about them in advance the better. Let’s just say they involve a karaoke performance, nudity, a very hairy embrace, and finally, a from-the-heart statement about how we could and should live our lives, which in almost any other film would seem like treacle, but here is thoroughly earned and provokes the tears that lay beneath the laughter all along.” — Amy Taubin, Film Comment
“Long after this year’s juries have disbanded and the world has forgotten who won this year’s awards, the 2016 edition will best be remembered as the year Ms Ade gave us Toni Erdmann, a work of great beauty, great feeling and great cinema.” — Manohla Dargis, NY Times