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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

I, Tonya (2017)

The rise of a self proclaimed "redneck" ice skater (Margot Robbie) in the world of competitive figure skating with her eyes on the Olympics and her epic fall from grace. Directed by Craig Gillespie (LARS AND THE REAL GIRL) from a biting screenplay by Steven Rogers. A movie about the infamous Tonya Harding didn't sound like a good idea and who needed another movie bio to clutter up the multiplexes during "award" season. But this is a terrific film. Gillespie and Rogers have turned Harding's life story into a white trash black comedy that gets darker as it plays out. The American Dream turned into an American Nightmare. I'd seen Robbie before and thought her the usual pretty blonde, not bad but nothing special. So nothing that I'd seen her in previously prepared me for her powerhouse performance here. She's matched every step of the way by Allison Janney as her abusive mother in a killer performance. Telling Harding's story as a very black comedy was risky and I'm not sure Nancy Kerrigan would find anything about it remotely amusing but Gillespie and company walk that fine line between satire and bad taste perfectly. Wonderful performances by Sebastian Stan, Paul Walter Hauser, Julianne Nicholson and Bobby Cannavale.   

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