TIFF 2017: Tonya Harding Biopic Is as Subtle as a Monster Truck Rally 

click to enlarge I, Tonya - TIFF
  • TIFF
  • I, Tonya
It was just a matter of time. The real-life soap opera of the rise and fall of Tonya Harding, the infamous U.S. figure skater/felon, has come to the big screen in new biopic I, Tonya—with director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) and star Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad) fleshing out this twisted, deliciously inappropriate story.

I, Tonya begins with a title card stating, "This story is based on irony-free, highly contradictory interviews," leading to a film threaded together by documentary-style interviews with a host of cartoonish yet quite-real characters.

"I won my first figure skating competition when I was four," says Harding (Margot Robbie). "Those bitches didn't know what hit them."

"If you think of it, if someone gets kneecapped now, people call it being 'Gillooly-ed,'" says Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan), Harding's then husband who pleaded guilty to the conspiracy leading to the attack on Harding's skating rival Nancy Kerrigan. "So, that's kinda cool."

"People either love Tonya or they're not big fans," says Harding's skating coach (Julianne Nicholson). "She was just like America. People either love America or they're not big fans."

Add in Allison Janney as Harding's foul-mouthed, abusive mom and Bobby Cannavale as a sleazy TV tabloid reporter, and you get a satire with all of the subtlety of a monster truck rally. It's highly watchable and Robie's performance is a sight to behold. The Motion Picture Academy may prefer more serious fare, but if there was any justice in the world, Robie will make the Oscar shortlist.

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