7:30 PM, 2nd June, 2017
PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE EMBASSY OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY
How often have you seen a Hollywood movie where the battle of the generations is played out between a parent and an adult child? Daughter gets married and father has to cope with the change, or son has to take lonely widowed mother on a road trip. And they always end in a reconciliation of sorts.
Well, the synopsis of Toni Erdmann may sound similar: ‘retired prankster father poses as life coach to try and be closer to his estranged workaholic daughter’. But this is a very different movie, mainly because it refuses to remain predictable, and it strikes with scene after scene that will have you laughing out loud at its reality-based absurdity. Right from the start, with the ticking package scene, you will get a sense of the type of humour. And a later nude scene rivals the wrestling scene in Borat, in the way it is so expertly and hilariously played out.
It also has complex characters that do not fit into the Hollywood mould, and little elements throughout that you have to watch for that make observations on class and gender politics. But most of all, it is a film about humanity – what it means to be human, and how a human should live.
Last comment: if you observe the running time and it concerns you, don’t be worried. When this film ended, I seriously thought there was another hour to go. The humour makes this film fly by.