Margot Robbie laces up as Tonya Harding with a performance so fiery it almost burns a hole in the ice. She barrels towards disaster with the grace of a freight train, all while nailing the art of the scorned underdog. Just imagine Cinderella, if her glass slipper was a steel-studded skating boot, swapping the pumpkin carriage for a clumsy conspiracy. Meanwhile, Allison Janney as Tonyas heartless mom makes Darth Vader look like Father Christmas. A wonderful maelstrom of sequins, sweat, and scandal – on ice!
Serving its drama colder than a frosty rink, the film chronicles Tonya Hardings rise and fall in the brutal world of competitive figure skating. From her hardscrabble upbringing by an abusive mother to the notorious knee-cap incident involving rival Nancy Kerrigan, it twirls viewers through a saga of ambition, domestic violence, and sabotage. A deeply ironic dance between the lines of black comedy and tragic farce, the narrative lands with the impact of a bodyslam on ice.
Not so fast with those triple axels! While the films fast, fun, and furiously unapologetic take on Hardings eccentric life is a hoot, its insistence on portraying her as a complete victim skates on thin ice. Surely, even in sequins and scrunchies, Harding was more complicit in her downfall.
The film skilfully executes its edgy tone, sharp humor, and enchanting performances, especially from Robbie and Janney. The manic editing and 4th wall-breaking are refreshing, though they do run the risk of being gimmicky. The tonal handling of domestic abuse is unsettling, sometimes vacillating between black humor and gritty realism. Yet, the way the film explores the classism in the world of figure skating is a thoughtful and brutally honest inclusion – a pirouette perfectly landed.
Robbie nails Hardings defiance and vulnerability with a rawness thats hard to shake off, while Janney’s monstrous maternal figure is chillingly perfect. Craig Gillespie’s direction adds a maverick touch, brilliantly blending satire, mockumentary style filmmaking, and heartbreaking realism, painting a cinematic spectacle as skilful as any flawless on-ice performance.
In a whirl of sequins and scandal, this biopic takes you on a slippery, sarcastic slide that doesnt spare the ice burns. I often found myself chuckling one moment, wincing the next – a real emotional Slapshot Charlie! Its a perfect flick for anyone with a taste for mascara-streaked melodrama, righteous revenge plots served ice cold, and an oddly placed flamingo. It leaves you with the lingering sensation of having been twirled, tossed and totally entertained. True to form, like Tonya Harding herself, its unforgettably audacious.