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I, Tonya

Director:  Craig Gillespie
Year Released:  2017
Rating:  3.5

Hilarious (and a bit sad) look at the "career" of American figure skater Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie), her cruel mother LaVona (Allison Janney), her abusive boyfriend/husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) ... and her "friendship" with rival Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver), who took a police baton to the knee in an attack that was ordered by Gillooly and his "super spy" buddy Shawn (Paul Walter Hauser) back in 1994. Gillespie and screenwriter Steven Rogers treat it exactly as it is: as a pitch black comedy, full of dumb people behaving like idiots ... and also a (very American) tale about growing up poor in single parent household, having a history of abusive relationships and the way "tabloid journalism" can tarnish someone's reputation for life, all while being a darn fine sports movie too. Robbie is exceptional in the lead, and while the movie doesn't excuse her behavior, it at least gives an explanation as to how she became the person she did - Janney is consistently great as well, taking on the role of the harsh Father Figure (real Dad got out quickly). Musician Sufjan Stevens called Harding a "strange and magnificent American hero" ... and while the filmmakers don't exactly consider her worthy of adoration, they at least attempt to restore some of her lost dignity.

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