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Breakaway Movie Review

harding tonya thompson joe

Well, what did we expect? A mere 16 months after Nancy Kerrigan was temporarily sidelined while training for the 1994 Olympics, Tonya Harding's first movie was rushed to the Cannes Film Festival. When Sonja Henie, Vera Hruba Ralston, Belita, Carol Heiss, and Lynn-Holly Johnson were introduced to international film fans, they were groomed and protected and shown in the best light possible for beginning actresses. But Tonya Harding is in a unique position. She can't skate, she can't teach, she can't sing, no one's hired her to wrestle lately, and if she takes a regular job to pay the bills, the tabloid press is there to record the event in exhaustive detail. The story here is a piece of nothing, poorly acted by all involved, with the possible exception of Teri Thompson as Myra Styles, whose looks, poise, punchy delivery, and O.K. action sequences outclass those of all of her male colleagues, and certainly Tonya Harding, who is “introduced” as Gina. Gina can take care of herself, which means that if a guy with a gun runs into her, he will acquiescently allow her to beat him up, because it's in the script. Harding's ragged eyebrows could have used a trimming, her wardrobe is unironed Goodwill, and her line readings and gestures are excruciatingly awkward. But why go on? She needed direction, she didn't get it, end of story. If it's any consolation, Joe Estevez (Martin Sheen's sibling) is no Sir John Gielgud, either. For the truly curious only, and expect to be disappointed. woof!

1995 (R) 94m/C Teri Thompson, Joe Estevez, Chris De Rose, Tonya Harding, Tony Noakes, Rick Beatty, Michael Garganese; D: Sean Dash; W: Sean Dash, Eric Gardner; C: Carlos Montaner; M: Robert Wait. VHS

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