I love films , so I had to go watch one of the most talked about films of 2016 with all this fuss and awards going on about it.
As other IMDBers have already mentioned, the expectations were high enough , and I sort of demanded a good film. I cannot say I got that.
The story (which isn't really a story) roughly, is about a woman whose job is basically firing people off of other companies --- and her father who is bizarrely present and around her throughout most of the film , making awkward but somewhat distant jokes , supposedly to help her have a better life.
Toni Erdmann is a bizarre film for sure. Nothing wrong with that, just stating a fact. It's a film that shows us instead of telling us things. Which is respectful, elegant and admirable in a way and that's a plus for Maren Ade.
There are admirable things in Toni Erdmann , but for me there are also big flaws that reduced the overall viewing experience.
The fatal flaw to name, is the starkness and the extreme cold atmosphere of this film and all its characters. For me a film must offer entertainment , in the broad sense. Meaning that a film has to give us a variety of good things that'll "warm us". Good soundtrack , interesting and empathizing characters , a good atmosphere and locations , and of course a solid story that'll surround us and in the end win us with its charm so we'll want to re watch the film after it starts to rust in our memory.
I don't want to watch Toni Erdmann again. There was no charm that won me and so just one preview is enough. I didn't connect with the characters much , not that I don't have common things ,most of us get modern life's problems , and we have common issues with fiction characters who aren't too happy with their life. Its a safe bet. But this doesn't mean you connect with the characters as well.
Toni Erdmann felt very much like you are inside a fridge, sitting in there and viewing stuff in a cold environment. Too cold. Also it runs too long at 2 hours and 40 minutes for the particular story told. For the kind of praise it got , I expected better characters , better dialogues and in the whole a better picture.
The direction in its practical sense of camera placement and movement was mediocre and so was the photography which was pretty basic so don't expect "good pictures".
The admirable things about it, was the good acting, mostly by the father "Toni" but the daughter was modestly good as well in her role. The originality of the film's approach to the father-daughter relationship was another good thing. And lastly the film's themes and questions/problems addressed by the director/scriptwriter Maren Ade. The story had meaning behind it sure, but it was too elegant about those themes (the corporate world vs human values and what matters for modern man vs what should really matter.) These are honorable themes and Maren Ade seems like a decent person to explore and show us a few troubling things in the hope to awaken us, but as a film it was mediocre. Of course that's just my opinion, but I have to say there are some rules in Film making , and mrs Ade neglected a few of them.
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