Toni Erdmann02 Oct 2016
Seeing Toni Erdmann in a full theater at the NY Film Festival was one of the best decisions I’ve made this fall. I spend a lot of time in theaters but this cinematic experience was deeply rewarding in the presence of hundreds of other people who were all in stitches, laughing harder scene after scene. The film is hilarious, it makes for the quickest 162 minutes I can remember for a film, and the film-makers and actors deserve the accolades they are receiving world wide.
One of my favorite themes in this film (and it deals with a lot: sexism, professionalism, globalism, EU relations, among a few) is its exploration of parenting an adult. So much of parenting is about the difficulties of emotional relationships between adults and children. But the majority of parenting happens between adults and grown children (also known as adults). Winfried/Toni’s relationship with Ines is beautifully drawn in this film, with ebbs and flows that feel real and properly earned. The building blocks were certainly on the page when the film makers began, and the acting and directing added depth.
A parent/child relationship between two adults is unlike any other relationship adults have. Unending love met with unforgiving angst makes for great dramatic tension. Turn up one of those knobs to 11 and you’ve got yourself one of the year’s best comedies.