Retelling the myth of Tonya Harding

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THE story of Tonya Harding’s rise and fall is sporting legend. One of the top female figure skaters in America, her career and her reputation was destroyed when she was implicated in a plot to assault her rival, Nancy Kerrigan, shortly before the 1994 Winter Olympics. The attack—a police baton to the knee after a training session—was orchestrated by her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and his friend Shawn Eckhardt, but Ms Harding admitted to having full knowledge of the scheme. Some suggested that she may have even been the mastermind of it.

So few people who set out to see “I, Tonya” will begin with a sympathetic view of its subject. Even fewer will leave the film with that view unchanged, or at least muddled. The thrilling and unsettling biopic from Craig Gillespie seeks to reclaim the legacy of a woman whose story, it argues, was written in error. It depicts her not as an aggressor, but as a lifelong victim—of domestic violence; of mocking by her peers and by the skating community for her humble origins; and of the press,…Continue reading

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Visualising the careers of musicians-turned-actors

THE news of Harry Styles’s casting in “Dunkirk” (2017) was met with bemusement. It was hard to imagine the boyband heartthrob, with his Mick Jagger-esque locks and floral suits, under siege on the beaches of northern France (rather than under siege from hordes of teenage girls). Did a short comic …

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Britain could become basketball’s latest global outpost

FOR ONE night a year the O2 Arena, London’s biggest indoor stadium, belongs to basketball. On January 11th the 20,000-seat venue hosted its eighth regular-season fixture since 2011, between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers, the former of whom are genuine championship contenders this season in the National Basketball …

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Is art-connoisseur yet another job threatened by technology?

THE patient is carefully positioned on a pristine rectangular table. A signal is given, and from behind a glass wall, a technician directs an X-ray machine overhead. Zapping begins. This is not a hospital. It is the conservation laboratory of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Visits here were part of the …