I, Tonya

I, Tonya ★★★

Like Molly's Game (and Foxcatcher, come to think of it), a curious sports drama based on actual people that is also about the social inequalities and institutionally built self-image of America. To give the drama some space, there's an unreliability structured into proceedings, like if the conflicting stories in Rashomon had unfolded concurrently rather than in succession. I'm growing a little tired of this 'tells us one thing, shows us another' storytelling, especially so soon after seeing Sorkin's film, though it's not without its moments of dramatic irony, and the comic trappings underline a dark heart: parental neglect, domestic abuse, the prejudices that undermine any sense of meritocracy in a world such as figure skating... The criminal entanglements unfold in Coenesque fashion, but the overall thrust recalls David O. Russell. The talking-heads structuring device (Craig Gillespie is Australian; is he a fan of Strictly Ballroom?) limits the film to an anecdotal framework that kind of all comes to nothing: a backwater-bungalow tale of sadness told in self-aggrandising hyperbole.