Movies: I, Tonya

The whole Nancy Kerrigan thing happened during my senior year of high school. My parents and I weren't sports people, and we didn't watch the Olympics. "The incident," as this movie calls it, was barely on my radar. I only knew enough to get the jokes.

And I wonder how many other viewers of this movie are like me: knowing just enough to get the jokes.

Or maybe many went in knowing even less about Tonya Harding.

I, Tonya is a faux documentary based on real interviews with Tonya Harding and her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly. I think the information embedded in the movie is interesting, and I think the movie is largely engaging. It's visually interesting (which may be why it got an Oscar nod for editing). The acting is quite good as well, and certainly Janney has earned all her accolades, though she drops out of the film for a large stretch.

That said, some of the choices distracted me. Breaking the fourth wall, for instance. Clever, perhaps, but it draws too much attention to itself because of the inconsistent use. The soundtrack also felt disruptive. I know some of the music was true to Harding's skating routines, but again, the choices seemed designed to pull attention from whatever else was happening on screen.

And I couldn't decide how to feel about the abuse. It was presented so matter-of-factly, and yet I suppose we're also supposed to question whether it actually happened since we're getting multiple POVs? The resulting confusion about the abuse means it isn't given the weight it maybe should carry; it almost feels like a punchline (no pun intended).

All this said, the film on the whole is quite good. A very visceral moment came when young Tonya stood crying outside her father's car as he left her mother. That's something that will stay with me.

Felt a little long for two hours, but still very entertaining. Worth viewing.

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