In her almost universally acclaimed third feature, German director Maren Ade proved herself a master of walking an emotional and dramatic high wire, progressively stripping her vulnerable protagonists of the protections of social conventions and politesse without subjecting them to abject, character-torturing cruelty. She pushes that dynamic even further, transforming a scenario fit for a sitcom into another creature entirely. Retired divorcee Winfried (Peter Simonischek), an incorrigible and painfully unfunny prankster who likes to don a fright wig and false snaggleteeth to masquerade as his alter ego “Toni Erdmann,” decides to pay a surprise visit to his lightly estranged daughter Inès (Sandra Hüller), a high-ranking and tightly wound management consultant. Winfried soon insinuates himself into every aspect of Inès’ life, turning each day into a parade of embarrassment — but Inès slowly reveals herself to be far more knowing, and complicit, in this escalatingly bizarre scenario than she lets on, to either her father or herself. “Startlingly original, frequently hilarious and completely surprising at every turn” (Time Out London).