Toni Erdmann

Director: Maren Ade
Year Released: 2016
Rating: 3.5

Piano teacher Winfried (Peter Simonischek) tries to reconnect with his businesswoman daughter Ines (Sandra Hüller) - who claims she's happy but a father knows better - in the most idiosyncratic way possible: he dons a fake wig and protruding teeth (resembling a caveman) and follows her around Bucharest, often interrupting meetings and making himself a nuisance. Winfried's antics - using the alias "Toni Erdmann" - at first seem belabored and tiresome but grow into something strange and beautiful: not only is it about a father's (misguided but well-intentioned) attempt to relate to his offspring, but also about men, in general, experiencing difficulty connecting to and understanding women, reducing them to complicated objects or dismissing them altogether (Ade wisely uses a traditionally male-centered work world to highlight this). During the soon-to-be famous Nude Party scene, in which an emotionally and physically naked Ines greets guests in the buff (dutiful assistant Anca, played by Ingrid Bisu, goes along with it unthinkingly), Pop shows up in a monstrous furry suit, acting as a perfect metaphor for Patriarchy, which is at the same time a source of warm comfort and inherently mysterious. "Don't lose the humor," Erdmann tells a (presumably soon-to-be fired) oil worker ... don't lose the music, either.