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I, Tonya


Stars: Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Sebastian Stan, Bobby Cannavale, Julianne Nicholson, Caitlin Carver, Mckenna Grace, Maizie Smith

Director: Craig Gillespie

Australian-born Robbie is excellent in this story of an Olympic skater, Tonya Harding, whose abusive husband (Stan) and his idiot friend (Cannavale) somehow involved her in a plan to send hate mail to a rival, Nancy Kerrigan (Carver), which eventually evolved into inept hired thugs smashing Kerrigan's kneecap with an iron bar.

As the scenario progresses, we learn that Harding was a foul-mouthed blonde from the wrong side of the tracks whose hideous mother (Janney) bullied her into becoming a world-class ice queen, and the only female American at that time (the early 1990s) to perform the difficult triple-axel jump.

Even so, she was rarely at the top of the leaderboard. 'If you repeat this,' a judge tells her in private, 'I'll deny it. But it's not all about the skating. We need to see a wholesome American family and you just don't play along.'

Moving from a violent mother (Oscar-nominated Janney is corrosive in the role) to a violent marriage, Tonya, despite her talent, can never get on 'the right side of the tracks'.

Robbie, also Oscar-nominated, looks a bit too old for the teen-and-twenty-year-old Tonya, but her performance is first-rate. However, the film is overlong and its monologues to the camera seem interminable. Disappointing, perhaps, overall, but the two leading portrayals make it worthwhile.

David Quinlan

USA 2017. UK Distributor: entertainmentOne. Colour by Kodak.
119 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 18 Feb 2018