Toni Erdmann

Toni Erdmann Information

Toni Erdmann is a 2016 German-Austrian comedy-drama film directed, written and co-produced by Maren Ade. It stars Peter Simonischek and Sandra Hller.

The film, which premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, was named the best film of 2016 by Sight & Sound and other respected cinema magazines.

It won five awards at the 29th European Film Awards: Best Film (a first for a film directed by a woman), Best Director, Best Screenwriter, Best Actor, and Best Actress. It also won the European Parliament LUX Prize. It has been nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards.


Winfried Conradi is a divorced music teacher, an old-age hippie of sorts, with a passion for bizarre pranks involving several fake personas. Following the death of his beloved dog, he decides to reconnect with his daughter, Ines, who is pursuing a career in business consulting. Ines is currently posted in Bucharest, Romania, where she works on an outsourcing project in the oil industry. She is consumed by her work and seems to have little time for her family, least of all her father.

Winfried spontaneously travels to Bucharest and waits for Ines in the lobby of an office complex. After several hours, she finally appears, accompanied by several of her client's board members and on the way to a meeting. Winfried puts on sunglasses and fake teeth as a playful disguise, and approaches her from the side while hiding behind a newspaper. Ines completely ignores her father, but meets with him briefly after work and invites him to a business reception.

In the evening, Winfried accompanies Ines to the reception at the American Embassy, where they meet Henneberg, a German oil company CEO with whom Ines wishes to secure a consulting contract. Ines tries desperately to gain Henneberg's attention, but Henneberg seems more interested in her father. Winfried tells Henneberg that he has hired a replacement daughter because Ines is always busy. To Ines' surprise, Henneberg invites Winfried and Ines for drinks, along with his entourage. At the bar, Henneberg once again brushes aside Ines, and makes fun of Winfried.

After several days, Ines and Winfried are struggling to get along. Ines is consumed by work-related stress and oversleeps a planned rendezvous with clients, blaming her father for not waking her up. Winfried, feeling alienated and unwanted, leaves in a taxi for the airport. Ines continues with her work as normal, and several days later arranges to meet two female friends at a bar. While Ines and her friends are chatting, a man approaches and introduces himself as "Toni Erdmann". The man is clearly Winfried, disguised in a wig and with false teeth, but Ines does not let on. Ines' two friends politely engage "Erdmann" in conversation, and he explains that he is a life coach and consultant visiting Bucharest to attend the funeral of his friend's turtle.

Ines is increasingly frustrated and unfulfilled in her work and personal life, but continues to encounter "Erdmann" sporadically at parties or outside her office. At first Ines is angry with her father, and accuses him of trying to "ruin" her. However, as time goes on she comes to see the worth of her father's interventions in her life, and plays along with the "Erdmann" ruse. "Erdmann" accompanies her on a night out with her work friends, and eventually even comes to a business meeting with her. In turn, "Erdmann" takes Ines to a Romanian family's Easter party, where he forces her into a reluctant and comical, yet powerful, performance of Whitney Houston's "Greatest Love of All". After her performance, Ines promptly rushes off.

Back at her flat, Ines is preparing to host a business brunch to celebrate her birthday. She struggles to zip up her tight dress, realizes her shoes don't match, and attempts to change clothes. The doorbell rings. Instead of redressing, or changing her outfit, she opens the door naked. Spontaneously, she decides to tell her guests that her birthday brunch is a "naked party". Each of them reacts differently, with some leaving in disgust while others self-consciously strip off. As the party becomes increasingly awkward, Winfried arrives dressed in a full-body Bulgarian kukeri costume. The costume frightens Ines' colleagues, but when Winfried leaves the party Ines follows him. Outside in a public park, father and daughter hug and share a moment of intimacy"?despite Winfried's impractical and incongruous costume.

Months later, Ines returns to Germany for her grandmother's funeral. She explains that she has quit her job in Bucharest and will shortly begin a new job in Singapore with McKinsey & Company. After the funeral, Winfried and Ines play with some funny hats in the garden of her grandmother's house, and reflect on the nature of happiness.


  • Peter Simonischek as Winfried Conradi / Toni Erdmann
  • Sandra Hller as Ines Conradi
  • Ingrid Bisu as Anca
  • Lucy Russell as Steph
  • Michael Wittenborn as Henneberg
  • Thomas Loibl as Gerald
  • Trystan Ptter as Tim
  • Hadewych Minis as Tatjana
  • Vlad Ivanov as Iliescu
  • Victoria Cocias as Flavia


The character of Winfried was loosely based on Ade's own father who wore a pair of fake teeth she gave him as a gag gift to play practical jokes.


Toni Erdmann had its world premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. The film was originally accepted into the less prestigious Un Certain Regard section of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. The night before the press conference in April Ade and her producer received an email that the film had been selected to compete for the Palme d'Or. Shortly after, Sony Pictures Classics and Soda Pictures acquired U.S, Latin American and UK distribution rights to the film, respectively.

The film went onto screen at the Filmfest Mnchen on 23 June 2016. Sydney Film Festival on 15 June 2016. Karlovy Vary International Film Festival on 3 July 2016. Telluride Film Festival on 2 September 2016. Toronto International Film Festival on 8 September 2016. New York Film Festival on 2 October 2016. and the BFI London Film Festival on 8 October 2016.

The film was released in Germany on 14 July 2016. Austria on 15 July 2016. and in Switzerland on 21 July 2016. The film was released in the United States on 25 December 2016.


While described by some critics as a comedy-drama film, Sandra Hller has commented that "it isn't a comedy - I'm not really sure why people think it is."

Box office

Toni Erdmann opened on July 14, 2016, in Germany and received 752.000 domestic visitors in the same year. The movie was widely advertised through all public media channels and became the 40th most watched movie in Germany in 2016.

Critical response

The film received universal acclaim from critics. It holds a 93% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 98 reviews, with an average rating of 8.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Toni Erdmann pairs carefully constructed, three-dimensional characters in a tenderly funny character study that's both genuinely moving and impressively ambitious." On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 94 out of 100, based on 30 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".

The film was named as the best film of the year by the French magazine Cahiers du cinma. The British film magazine Sight & Sound also named Toni Erdmann as the best film of 2016 in its poll of 163 critics worldwide. It also topped the American magazine Film Comment Best Films of 2016 internal poll. The New York Times"?s chief film critics, A. O. Scott and Manohla Dargis, included it in their own lists.


Toni Erdmann received the FIPRESCI Award for Best Film In Competition at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

In August 2016, the film won the FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics)'s Grand Prix for best film of the year, and making it the first time this accolade has been awarded to a female filmmaker.

Later that year, in November 2016, the film was awarded the European Parliament's Lux Prize, annually awarded to facilitate the diffusion of European films in the European Union.

List of awards and nominations
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result }}
Academy Awards February 26, 2017 Best Foreign Language Film Maren Ade
Alliance of Women Film Journalists December 21, 2016 Best Non-English-Language Film Maren Ade
Austin Film Critics Association December 28, 2016 Best Foreign Language Film Toni Erdmann
British Academy Film Awards February 12, 2017 Best Film Not in the English Language Toni Erdmann
British Independent Film Awards December 4, 2016 Best Foreign Independent Film Maren Ade, Jonas Dornbach, Janine Jackowski and Michael Merkt
Brussels Film Festival June 24, 2016 Golden Iris Award Maren Ade
RTBF TV Prize for Best Film Maren Ade
Best Screenplay Award Maren Ade
Cannes Film Festival May 22, 2016 FIPRESCI Award Maren Ade
Palme d'Or Maren Ade
Csar Award February 24, 2017 Meilleur film tranger Toni Erdmann
Chicago Film Critics Association December 15, 2016 Best Foreign Language Film Toni Erdmann
Critics' Choice Awards December 11, 2016 Best Foreign Language Film Toni Erdmann
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association December 13, 2016 Best Foreign Language Film Toni Erdmann
Denver Film Critics Society January 16, 2017 Best Foreign Language Film Toni Erdmann
Dorian Awards January 26, 2017 Foreign Language Film of the Year Toni Erdmann
European Film Awards December 10, 2016 Best Film Toni Erdmann
Best Director Maren Ade
Best Screenwriter Maren Ade
Best Actor Peter Simonischek
Best Actress Sandra Hller
Florida Film Critics Circle December 23, 2016 Best Foreign Language Film Toni Erdmann
Golden Globe Awards January 8, 2017 Best Foreign Language Film Toni Erdmann
Guldbagge Awards January 23, 2017 Best Foreign Film Toni Erdmann
Houston Film Critics Society January 6, 2017 Best Foreign Language Film Toni Erdmann
Independent Spirit Awards February 25, 2017 Best International Film Toni Erdmann
IndieWire Critics Poll December 19, 2016 Best Film Toni Erdmann
Best Director Maren Ade
Best Actress Sandra Hller
Best Actor Peter Simonischek
Best Screenplay Toni Erdmann
London Film Critics Circle January 22, 2017 Film of the Year Toni Erdmann
Director of the Year Maren Ade
Actor of the Year Peter Simonischek
Actress of the Year Sandra Hller
Screenwriter of the Year Maren Ade
Foreign Language Film of the Year Toni Erdmann
Los Angeles Film Critics Association December 4, 2016 Best Foreign Language Film Toni Erdmann
National Society of Film Critics January 7, 2017 Best Actress Sandra Hller
Best Foreign Language Film Toni Erdmann
New York Film Critics Circle December 1, 2016 Best Foreign Language Film Toni Erdmann
New York Film Critics Online December 11, 2016 Top 12 Films Toni Erdmann
Online Film Critics Society January 3, 2017 Best Foreign Language Film Toni Erdmann
Pali? Film Festival July 22, 2016 Golden Tower for Best Film Maren Ade
Palm Springs International Film Festival January 15, 2017 FIPRESCI Prize for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year Toni Erdmann
San Francisco Film Critics Circle December 11, 2016 Best Foreign Language Film Toni Erdmann
Satellite Awards February 19, 2017 Best Foreign Language Film Toni Erdmann
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association December 18, 2016 Best Foreign Language Film Toni Erdmann
Toronto Film Critics Association December 11, 2016 Best Film Toni Erdmann
Best Actor Peter Simonischek
Best Actress Sandra Hller
Best Director Maren Ade
Best Screenplay Maren Ade
Best Foreign Language Film Toni Erdmann
Vancouver Film Critics Circle December 20, 2016 Best Foreign Language Film Toni Erdmann
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association December 5, 2016 Best Foreign Language Film Toni Erdmann
Women Film Critics Circle December 19, 2016 Best Foreign Film by or about Women Toni Erdmann

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