Arts

New on DVD / Download: Lady Bird and I, Tonya

Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird
Damon Smith

LADY BIRD (Cert 15, 94 mins, Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd, Comedy/Drama/Romance, available from June 18 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from July 2 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99)

Sardonic high school student Christine McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) yearns to escape the suffocating regulations of her Catholic high school.

"The only exciting thing about 2002 is that it's a palindrome," she bemoans to her mother Marion (Laurie Metcalf), who works as a nurse at the local hospital.

Christine's laid-back father Larry (Tracy Letts) reluctantly plays peacemaker between mother and daughter, who insists on being called by her "given name" of Lady Bird.

One of the nuns (Lois Smith) casually remarks on Christine's theatrical flair and the teenager auditions for drama club alongside impressionable best friend Julie (Beanie Feldstein).

To Christine's dismay, Julie wins a lead role opposite dreamy classmate Danny (Lucas Hedges) while she is consigned to the nameless ensemble.

As hormones rage and Christine searches for acceptance from her peers, her friendship with Julie becomes strained and she pursues romance with an older boy (Timothee Chalamet).

Lady Bird is a sublime coming-of-age comedy drama set in turn of the 21st-century Sacramento, which draws on writer-director Greta Gerwig's fond memories of her Californian hometown.

This beautifully observed valentine to mother-daughter relationships earns tears and laughter in generous equal measure, bolstered by Oscar-nominated performances from Ronan and Metcalf.

RATING: *****

I, TONYA (Cert 15, 114 mins, Entertainment One, Comedy/Drama/Romance, available from June 18 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from June 25 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £33.99)

As a girl, Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) learns to ice-skate at the behest of her domineering mother LaVona (Allison Janney), who secures Diane Rawlinson (Julianne Nicholson) as a coach.

LaVona is far from impressed with Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) as a potential son-in-law but she is powerless to stop her daughter from falling under Jeff's spell.

Tonya trains hard and becomes the first American athlete to land a triple axel jump in competition but the judges refuse to give her the high marks she thinks she deserves.

In stark contrast, rival Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver) is lavished with praise and repeatedly overshadows Tonya's achievements.

As frustration grows, Tonya's bodyguard Shawn Eckhardt (Paul Walter Hauser) and Jeff hatch a loopy plan to hire two low-level criminals to attack Kerrigan.

Based on "irony free, wildly contradictory, totally true interviews" with US figure skating champion Harding and ex-husband Gillooly, I, Tonya is a blackly humorous biopic.

Sequences on the ice are breathlessly staged, employing slick digital effects to blend Robbie's face with the bodies of skating doubles.

Australian actress Robbie inhabits the title role with fearlessness and ferocity, tossing out expletives as if her life depended upon it.

Oscar winner Janney is monstrous as a chain-smoking matriarch, who preaches cruelty as kindness to jaw-dropping excess.

RATING: ****

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 for the first month to get full access

Today's horoscope

Horoscope


See a different horoscope: