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TIFF17 | Figure Skating Mockumentary Offers Hilarious Backstory on Tonya Harding


The height of my sisters obsession with figure skating peaked during the infamous Olympic games when Tonya Harding knocked knees with Nancy Kerrigan. It remains one of the most scandalous moments in US sports history, creating a non-stop 24 hour news cycle which had many double salchow-loving younglings, just like us, gripped by the scandalous girl-on-girl drama.

In case you need a refresher:

In 1994, the figure skating world was rocked by a brutal attack on US medal hopeful Nancy Kerrigan. The more shocking news was that the attack was allegedly conceived and executed by those close to – and perhaps including – rival figure skater Tonya Harding (famed for achieving figure skating’s holy grail move, completing a triple axel in competition in 1991).

With Steven Rogers’ on-point script and Craig Gillespie’s direction Tonya Harding’s real-life story unravels as an entertaining film that is both mockumentary and tragicomedy. I, Tonya‘s screenplay was crafted after Rogers conducted several intimate interviews with Harding, allowing the audience to finally hear the infamous skaters side of the story.

Margot Robbie takes on the role of Tonya, telling the story of the competitive athletes trailer trash upbringing in rural Oregon. The films most hilarious (and heart-wrenching) moments are provided by Allison Janney, who plays Tonya’s outrageously abusive mother. While Harding has spent years forced to play the villain, I, Tonya finally gives the figure skating world perspective.

When you realize a little girl living on the wrong side of the tracks spends her entire life being physically and emotionally abused by both her mother and husband its easy to empathize. You’ll skate away from this one with a better understanding of the life behind the tabloid headlines…and you may just find her growing on you.

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