I, Tonya

B

I remember all the hoopla about Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan leading up to the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer. I was watching David Letterman regularly then and he made endless jokes about Harding and her husband, Jeff Gillooly. It sounds like a great idea to make a movie about something so incredibly minor that held the entire country's attention for so many minutes. Rather than focus on the knee-bashing incident (it is still there, believe me), more of the movie is devoted to Harding growing up and dealing with some of the toxic people around her including her mother and husband. Told largely from Harding's perspective, the people around her are monsters who ruined her career. She is somewhat sympathetic, but she still brings a lot of problems on herself and the movie is both horrifying in its depiction of abuse while also rekindling the joy everyone feels in making fun of white trash. Allison Janney disappears into her role as Tonya's foul-mouthed chain-smoking child-bashing mother. And while Margot Robbie doesn't really look that much like Tonya, she does a very good job in some emotional scenes. The problem is even after seeing the movie you still don't really know the truth behind any of this and you feel like you just finished reading a tabloid article about the real story of Tonya Harding. The material just doesn't seem strong enough to make a great movie despite the crazy cast of characters and the very good performances.