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Non-Review Review: I, Tonya

I, Tonya is a biopic for the post-truth era. It is also brilliant.

The subject of I, Tonya will be casually familiar to most viewers, the figure skater Tonya Harding who was implicated in an attack on fellow figure skater Kerrigan. The incident was a flashpoint for the nascent twenty-four hour news cycle in the early nineties, although most people remember it as a warm-up for the O.J. Simpson case only shortly afterwards. As such, I, Tonya feels like the perfect window through which to examine the modern era’s obsessive celebrity-focused culture and the desire to turn our heroes into monsters for the audience’s viewing pleasure.

Putting her own spin on it.

I, Tonya is fascinating on that level alone. Its characters repeatedly break the fourth wall in an attempt to steer and control the narrative, but occasionally do so to indict the audience for their complicity. I, Tonya is a film that understands it cannot be about this media maelstrom without being part of this media maelstrom. There’s a canny knowingness to I, Tonya, an understanding that a movie about culture’s slipping grip on the idea of reality cannot be too earnest or too sincere.

I, Tonya repeatedly suggests that its story may stray into the realm of fantasy and fiction, but the movie still packs a real punch.

Get your skates on, mate.

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Like a Good Kick in the Side: Sidekicks and Superheroes – a Childish Combination?

Let’s be honest, a lot of the early superhero movie adaptations – from Richard Donner’s Superman to Tim Burton’s Batman – played fast and loose with the source material that they were drawn from. There wasn’t really the same sense of fidelity that one sense at work in modern comic adaptations, the sense that modern audiences are geeky enough to accept concepts like superhero nostalgia or deconstructions of comic book heroism without having to “sanitise” them for mass consumption. There’s a sense that there’s relatively little that can be deemed “too geeky” or “too corny” for a mainstream audience, at least not if done in the proper manner. However, there is one concept which still seems a little too “out there” for popular audiences: that of the kid sidekick. Captain America: The First Avenger cast its sidekick as 27-year-old Sebastian Stan, rather than the teenager of the comics. Why are we so embarrassed by this one element of superhero lore?

Compare and contrast...

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