I, Tonya, 2017 – ★★★½ (contains spoilers)

This review may contain spoilers.

Near the end of I, Tonya, there’s a scene where we see the beginnings of the O.J. Simpson case on a TV while the Harding/Gilooly scandal is winding down. 2017 was a year where numerous filmmakers tried to pinpoint where American media went off the rails, indulging in 24-hour news, opinion-not-fact, and by extension how the hell we got to Fox News and Trump.

The film is dazzling and kinetic, especially in the skating sequences, which come at three important moments in the film. Margo Robbie has some great moments here, especially in her one close up where she struggles to conjure a smile while her career falls around her.

There is some weird dissonance in the film, however. We are asked to sympathize with Tonya’s working class plight, that no matter how good her skating, her white trashiness holds her back. Yet, some of the biggest laughs and enjoyable moments are ones that mock the trappings lower class Portland (or Portland 1.0 as I like to call it). It’s not to say that Harding’s mother wasn’t abusive and manipulative, her husband an abuser, and his “mastermind” friend a delusional doofus.

Thankfully, the film ends the original footage of Harding acing that triple axel. If anything, that’s how we need to remember her.

Vía Letterboxd – Ted Mills

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