Movie review: I, Tonya
If you are not familiar with Tonya Harding's story, you may wonder if I, Tonya is a biopic or a fictional account concocted by delusional people.
Is there any truth in this insane tale?
But then Harding (Margot Robbie) herself declares in one scene: "Everyone has their own truth."
According to her, she was, at one point in time, one of the best figure skaters in the world.
While that is debatable, the truth is Harding was the first American woman to successfully land the extremely difficult triple axel move in competition.
That was her claim to fame, allowing her to represent the US twice, at the 1992 and 1994 Winter Olympics.
Her fall from grace was as rapid as her rise.
Her reputation was tarnished after being associated with the assault on fellow Olympic competitor Nancy Kerrigan.
The attack was supposedly orchestrated by Harding's husband Jeff Gillooly (a credible Sebastian Stan). Following the fiasco, Tonya was banned from competitive skating for life.
Such juiciness is definitely made for the tabloids, but if you strip away all that, I, Tonya is about social division and the dysfunctional relationship between a daughter and her mother.
Allison Janney delivers a tour de force performance as Harding's mum LaVona, a scary woman whose love for her daughter means pushing her off a cliff, metaphorically.
Janney gets my vote for Best Supporting Actress at the upcoming Academy Awards.
Robbie embraces her role completely, displaying much intensity and strength. She ditches her usual glamorous image for one that is crude and crass.
She also brings out the emotionally-starved side of Harding, who is penalised throughout her skating career for not living up to the elegant and upper-class image that the sport seeks.
In one part, when asked to wear fur coats like her peers, she shows up in a homemade coat made from the furs of rabbits she hunted.
Robbie really walks the walk of someone who has a chip on her shoulder.
I, Tonya glides on both actresses' amazing chemistry and world-class performances, making the end product a must-watch.
MOVIE: I, Tonya
STARRING: Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Sebastian Stan
DIRECTOR: Craig Gillespie
THE SKINNY: An account of the rise and fall of real-life US competitive figure skater Tonya Harding (Robbie), who crashes at the height of her career after being accused of being involved in an attack on rival competitor Nancy Kerrigan.