Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann, gives depiction to the shadow of comedy, despair. The film’s use of real time gives clear indication that the audience will easily relate from the start. Ade utilizes her 2 hour plus film to build up to the final scenes with small bursts of regular life climatic dramas. From a dog’s death, to a bad massage, every detail almost seemed stagnant after the 2 hour mark, leading to believe patience is a hard virtue.
Sandra Hüller enforced anxiety and exemplary comedic timing to her character, Ines Conradi. Her dynamic role as a tight-knit business woman stayed strong in expected situations while also building up surprise in uncharacteristic moments. Hüller’s performance gave simplicity a deeper understanding to underlying personas while gradually breaking her character’s boundaries. Ade’s close to three hour presentation was worth while to relate to a character such as Ines Conradi.
While contemplating if every scene is absolutely necessary, Ines Conradi’s comedic release of anxiety and pressure in form of her birthday party with co-worker attendees turned naked team bonding, I was surrounded in a room full of audience laughter. However, I found myself crying, relating to Conradi’s last minute efforts to fully encompass herself to her surroundings, to find humor in the unfortunate stresses. Ade beautifully finds the balance of comedy and the often overlooked despair that the audience can choose to fulfill in.