Touted as a comedy, I found this German film more oddity than humorous. It's mainly in that country's language, with some English and a little sporadic Rumanian - and it's just fifteen minutes shy of three hours in length! Even if seen as social commentary I found it quite hard going. It was nominated in this year's Oscar list as 'Best Foreign Language Film' for some reason that quite escapes me.
Peter Simonischek is the eponymous German resident who goes off on a whim to visit his executive business agency daughter (Sandra Hueller) who lives and works in Bucharest, where the film is very nearly entirely set. He turns up unannounced, much to her annoyance, getting in the way while she tries to carry on with her business negotiations. When he realises he isn't wanted he makes as if returning home to Germany, but shows up again at her business meetings and functions, this time sporting enormous black wig and protruding false teeth and dressed sloppily, introducing himself to her associates and friends as a lifestyle coach and describes her as his secretary. She's horrified at his lies but doesn't disabuse them of their swallowing his stories, never admitting that he is actually her father.
There's certainly potential for comedy in the situations though I confess that only once did I laugh and maybe two more times I smiled, albeit weakly.
Director Maren Ade is also the screenplay writer. I was never sure exactly what she was trying to achieve, and what the tone was intended to be. If it was supposed to appeal as being 'quirky' it was too seriously bizarre for that, not at all assisted by the very strange scene near the end with a party at the daughter's apartment when she spontaneously decides to make it a nude gathering, guests arriving and being surprised as she welcomes them stark naked at the door. Then the father arrives in a most peculiar 'costume' get-up and doesn't say a word. I just didn't understand it at all. Funny? Not really.
The film's closing scene was, I assume, supposed to indicate that the daughter discovers the true worth of her father. If that was so it was clumsily executed. However, I can't be absolutely sure that that was the message we were supposed to take away.
Despite some reasonably fine acting, I did find it an inordinately lengthy disappointment, and I remain bewildered as to why it's been getting some very enthusiastic reviews - perhaps more for originality of idea than for actual presentation...........4.5.
2 hours ago