jacob mouradian’s review published on Letterboxd :
Filmmaker No. 1: We've got some of that Blatant Self-Awareness™️ left over. Where should be put it?
Filmmaker No. 2: Hmm...maybe mix it in with some Fourth-Wall-Breaking and sprinkle it over the scenes of domestic violence?
Filmmaker No. 1: Perfect!
This isn't to suggest that the filmmakers take Harding's abuse lightly nor shy away from her disturbing reality, but trying to mix it with a ~~quirky~~ sense of self-awareness feels more like a cheap grab for our attention while serving as an ironic detachment for us as viewers of the depicted events. Whether that last part was an intentional outcome or not further illustrates this confused approach on the whole, clouding what the film's ultimate goal really is (via the opening statement which, although "wildly contradictory", is also "irony free") and begging the question: how can you portray something unironically if you're entrenched in the visual motifs of irony throughout? The jumpy narrative; the fourth-wall breaks; the interviews; the quick cuts....Sure, there's something to be said about the objectivity of truth or both the ferocity of media and American tone policing at-large, but neither Gillespie or writer Rogers feel focused enough to really give the former thesis the attention it deserves, and resort to undercooked attempts at the latter ones as a third-act saving grace. There's something here -- even if that something is just a rough-around-the-edges, more-or-less-straightforward biopic -- hell, even if they would've only had the head-on interview segments as the only bit of direct engagement with the audience, I think this would've been much more effective! -- but the film is obfuscated and diverted all too many ways to have that much of an impact. Unless it's a choose-your-own-alignment kind of story, in which case I choose a film with a stronger sense of purpose.
Robbie was great, though. The skating sequences were terrifically executed (I don't care how much CGI or body doubles were used, it's a technique that actually worked). Somebody probably should've told the music supervisor to calm down a bit.