I, Tonya

I, Tonya ★★★★½

Craig Gillespie melds straightforward dramatic tropes with a mockumentary style to tell the complicated story of figure-skating bad girl Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie in a career-best performance) in a film that takes many risks and manages to land on its feet. Based on actual conversations with Harding and her husband, Gillespie uses humorous fictitious interviews to access her abusive upbringing and controversial skating career, all while managing to tell a riveting story of human striving and failure. Mostly focused on Harding’s fraught relationships with her overbearing mother (played by the ever-transcendent Allison Janney) and manager husband, I, Tonya takes a basic rags-to-riches-to-rags story structure and infuses it with unique editing and fourth-wall-breaking techniques. Yet, most importantly, Gillespie manages to make one of the most hated figures in the history of sports sympathetic.

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