Tuesday, January 31, 2017

German Oscar Nominee

Enjoyed a charming German film over the weekend entitled Toni Erdmann. It has been nominated for the Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards and had been submitted by Germany. It is unusually long--2 hrs, 40 mins--and drags at times. But it is highly entertaining and enjoyable in a way that European films can be.

I won't give too much plot away but it focuses on a man who is essentially retired after a checkered career who decides to follow his coldly business-oriented daughter, a management consultant, back to her ongoing project in Bucharest, Romania, after she came to Germany for his birthday and spent most of her visit on her cell phone.

He dresses up as different characters--the title of the film is one of them--and turns up at her management meetings with clients and social occasions as well, including a reception at the American Embassy. This all results in both embarrassing and uproarious scenes with plenty of good supporting players. The two German leads have both been in previous pix but were new to me.

The film is incredibly funny and recommended if you don't mind a picture that gives its characters and plot time to develop and play out. It has several scenes that earned it an R rating, none of which is in any way objectionable, but if made in the U.S., it probably could have received a full X rating. Somehow the Europeans manage these scenes without your feeling that it is at all exploitative. 

This picture also bears a message in terms of how we live our lives, and while fortunately it is not made so as to hit you over the head with a ton of bricks, it fulfills its goals of making you think as well as laugh.

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