I, Tonya

I, Tonya ★★★½

“I, Tonya” will make you care about Tonya Harding for the first time in a long time. Moreover, “I, Tonya” will make you sympathize with Tonya Harding for the first time. Remembered for her highly contested role in attacking rival figure skater Nancy Kerrigan (when she’s remembered at all), Harding was one of the greatest villains the ’90s ever produced, up there with O.J. Simpson, the T-1000, and the guy who invented Crystal Pepsi. She was the perfect punchline for a country that always needs someone to laugh at; a country that hinges on the idea of upward mobility but would rather punch down than pull up. Now, thanks to the bitter and bleakly funny black comedy that “Lars and the Real Girl” director Craig Gillespie has made about the most sordid years of her life, Tonya Harding is finally getting a chance to tell her side of the story.

Unfortunately for Tonya, she’s not the only one. Beginning in the mockumentary style of a Christopher Guest movie, “I, Tonya” introduces its motley crew of lower-class characters with a series of interviews that invites us to laugh at them right out of the gate. We meet Tonya (Margot Robbie) as she sits alone in her kitchen, rocking her denim jacket like she was born in it. “Tonya is America,” we hear someone say. There’s no trace of nonsense in her narrow face; this is the kind of woman who stubs out cigarettes with a figure skate. Her catchphrase? “It wasn’t my fault.”


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