• Golden Globe Awards

Toni Erdmann (Germany)

Imagine your estranged father comes to visit you during one of the most stressful periods that your job has to offer, as you are trying to close an important deal. This is what happens to Ines Conradi whose father Winfried, a divorced music teacher and somewhat of an old hippie, surprises her during a meeting in Bucharest where she is currently posted. After reluctantly introducing him to her co-workers and boss, she convinces him to leave because she has to concentrate on the deal. They have not found a connection, so what is the point of him staying? Winfried is alienated by what he sees as his daughter’s strange and sad life, or lack thereof. He pretends to depart.A few days later, Ines is having dinner with some girlfriends when he reappears, with a black wig and fake teeth and introduces himself as Toni Erdmann, business coach and consultant. The friends buy his disguise and Ines, her embarrassment palpable, has no other choice than to play along. He insinuates himself into her life, forming cordial relationships with her superiors who admire his easy going approach to life.Most of all he finds out that his daughter’s life is driven by overblown career ambitions, meaningless sexual conquests and cocaine abuse. He is genuinely concerned about her and tries to show her another way of living, a return to joy and love, all by playing this ridiculous part of Toni Erdmann.Toni Erdmann is the work of German writer, director and producer Maren Ade, whose first film The Forest for the Trees won the Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005 and whose second, Everyone Else, the Silver Bear at the Berlin Fest in 2009 where it also nabbed the Best Actress Award for lead Birgit Minichmayr. In Toni Erdmann Sandra Hüller is very convincing as the tightly wound Ines who only lets loose once, in one of the most enjoyable scenes of the film, when she belts out Whitney Houston’s "The Greatest Love of All“ during a party in a Florence Foster Jenkins-like performance of wrong notes and high hopes. One of Austria’s great stage actors, Peter Simonischek is brilliant in the title role.