In addition to her life in the spotlight, Harding's tumultuous upbringing is also explored in I, Tonya, with Allison Janney playing her grizzled, booze-guzzling curmudgeon of a mother, LaVonda Golden.
Gillooly and bodyguard Shawn Eckhardt hired Shane Stant to hit Kerrigan in the knee with a metal baton after a practice session in 1994 in the hope of badly injuring her ahead of the Olympics.
"I, Tonya" announces up front that it's based on "irony free, wildly contradictory" interviews with the participants, yielding a darkly satiric comedy with the tenor of a Coen brothers movie. Key through all of this is "I, Tonya's" repeated cuts back to mockumentary interviews, which provide a backbone to the entire film that catapult it forward. "There were parts she didn't like, but I think. mostly, she was really excited about it".
The stars aligned for Allison Janney when she dressed up in a cheap fur coat, perched a parakeet on her shoulder, and chain-smoked and swore through figure-skating movie "I, Tonya".
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He details Harding's underdog rise to the top of the figure skating world, the infamous Nancy Kerrigan incident, and her subsequent fall from grace -ultimately dubbing her "America's sweetheart with a dark twist".
She added that Harding "was villainized so much by the media that people actually remember the whole thing totally differently".
All the while, "I, Tonya" is constantly elevated by two of the most impressive performances of the year. Especially since it works on numerous levels, from her fight against the class system to disconnecting from the abuse that followed her, and then trying to overcome her unwanted legacy. She sort of brushed it off in a way that made me think "Wow".
But that's nowhere near enough to derail "I, Tonya", as its exuberance and energy alone mean it is one of the most watchable films of 2017.