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TIFF 2016 Review: “Toni Erdmann” (2016) ★★★★★


The relationship between a father and daughter is always unique, sweet and touching, especially when it works the same way like in Maren Ade’s sensational piece of art “Toni Erdmann”.

Winfried just lost his old dog, Willie. He lives alone and does not get much opportunity to see his always busy daughter, Ines. He even jokes around saying that he had to hire a substitute daughter to cut his toenails as his real daughter is never around. And when he feels that it’s not going as great as Ines tries to present it to him, he decides to make a second attempt to help her, not as father Winfried, but as Toni Erdmann, a businessman who deals with couching and outsourcing personnel.

In one of the scenes, when Ines and Winfried are discussing about life, she asks him what is it, based on his opinion, worth living. At first, Toni Erdmann/Winfried finds it difficult to give an appropriate answer to his daughter’s question, but as their relationship grows stronger, there will be no need to answer the question at all. But the karaoke scene when Ines performs Houston’s hit, I am sure, wherever you will be watching a film will trigger an applause, and even tears, no matter how strong a human being you are.

In conclusion, despite its long length of two hours and forty minutes, you never feel it being that long due to the dynamic storyline, excellent ability of storytelling, and the performance that will simply blow your mind. Maren Ade in his film does not try to seek an answer or teach a moral lesson of how important it is to not lose a family bond. But it is more about moments, patience, caring, parenthood that most of the time is missing in some families. “Toni Erdman” captures both, Ines and Winfried’s relationship in a way that you will realize, if this is not worth living, what else can then be?

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