I, Tonya – An absorbing tale that is both tragic and hilarious

While not exactly America’s answer to the tribulations of Eddie the Eagle (Tonya Harding was a world class athlete) this shaggy dog story is similarly fantastical and contradictory. Director Craig Gillespie busts the fourth wall with wildly conflicting versions of events, leaving the audience to sort out fact from fabrication in an absorbing tale, backed by a spot on soundtrack, that is both tragic and hilarious.

Margot Robbie is compelling as the self-professed red neck skater, trying to elbow her way into a sport dominated by ballet dancers on ice. Beaten but never bowed by her monstrous psychotic mother (played with a terrifying intensity by Allison Janney), she claws her way to the top of her profession, only to see everything crumble around her. For those unfamiliar with Harding’s fall from grace, this is a fascinating glimpse into the precious, spiteful world of ice skating.

For those that remember more of what happened just weeks before the 1994 Olympics, this is nonetheless a jaw-dropping expose of a scheme, hatched by Hardy’s abusive husband (played with remarkable humanity by Sebastian Stan) of such monumental stupidity than it is would be utterly unbelievable were it not true.

by David Vass