While both participating in a production of "Death of a Salesman," a teacher's wife is assaulted in her new home, which leaves him determined to find the perpetrator over his wife's traumatized objections.
Ove, an ill-tempered, isolated retiree who spends his days enforcing block association rules and visiting his wife's grave, has finally given up on life just as an unlikely friendship develops with his boisterous new neighbors.
A teenage girl with nothing to lose joins a traveling magazine sales crew, and gets caught up in a whirlwind of hard partying, law bending and young love as she criss-crosses the Midwest with a band of misfits.
Winfried doesn't see much of his working daughter Ines. He pays her a surprise visit in Bucharest, where she's busy as a corporate strategist. The geographical change doesn't help them to see more eye to eye. Practical joker Winfried annoys his daughter with corny pranks and jabs at her routine lifestyle of meetings and paperwork. Father and daughter reach an impasse, and Winfried agrees to go home to Germany. Enter Toni Erdmann: Winfried's flashy alter ego. Disguised in a tacky suit, weird wig and fake teeth, Toni barges into Ines' work circle, claiming to be her CEO's life coach. As Toni, Winfried doesn't hold back, and Ines meets the challenge. The harder they push, the closer they become. In all the madness, Ines begins to see that her eccentric father deserves a place in her life. Written by
The sexual violation of a plate of petits fours is one of several scenes in the too lengthy, sluggishly paced "Toni Erdmann" that attempts to repulse a long suffering audience into a sympathy for the main character's banal perversity in her dreary corporate schemes. It's a shamefully manipulative device that brings no visionary edge or joy of whimsy to reward us for our trouble. True believers of the aesthetic collective this movie serves may accuse us naysayers of having sanctimonious eyes, but it's simply a viewer's humble craving to engage a narrative without being toyed with like those dainty pastel pastries. The stellar reviews of this movie by the "cognoscenti" are mystifying, and some professional reviewers are intimidated to contest this group-think. I actually watched one reviewer in a panel understandably assert a spirited negative review only to immediately second-guess himself. He absurdly conceded that he'll watch the movie one more time in the presence of an audience as opposed to being a misguidedly lone viewer, and perhaps that would sweeten his view of it.
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