Cracks on the Ice
Despite already pursing art young Tai Babilonia watched some ice-skating on screen and from then on she set her sights on becoming an ice-skater with natural talent and dedication seeing her paired up with Randy Gardner at a young age. Soon they come to the attention of Coach John Nicks (William Daniels) who works Tai hard as if she wasn't already pushing herself hard enough anyway. But with a life becoming dominated by skating there is no room for anything else in Tai's life with the pressure only increasing as they become the darlings on the ice with there being no escape from it.
I will put my hand up and say prior to stumbling upon "On Thin Ice: The Tai Babilonia Story" I had never heard of Tai Babilonia as not only have I never had a great deal of interest in ice skating her years of competing were when I was a young child and wouldn't have been paying much attention to British skaters let alone those from another country. But even if like me your knowledge of Tai Babilonia is zilch "On Thin Ice: The Tai Babilonia Story" is still worth watching because there is something universal about her story.
Now as I watched "On Thin Ice: The Tai Babilonia Story" I couldn't but help think about the biopics of Michael Jackson which I have watched because in many ways this is similar. We see how Tai's dedication and ability to skate leads to her life being dominated by skating with her ending up having private tuition so that she could skate as much as possible whilst her father worked unusual shifts to finance all her training. We see how her parents added to her stress because of their expectations and their becoming blinkered to her depression. All of which leads to... well I am not going to say as I would imagine there are others like me who don't know the ins and outs of Tai's story and there are some interesting elements in this movie.
Now as I mentioned I am not one for ice skating in fact I have never even tried to ice skate but I have to admit the skating in "On Thin Ice: The Tai Babilonia Story" mesmerised me. Whilst it was clearly shot with skating doubles the combination of choreography and cinematography makes for some beautiful scenes. There are also plenty of impressive training sequences and I am sure those who are in to ice skating will be impressed by them.
What this all boils down to is that whilst "On Thin Ice: The Tai Babilonia Story" is the story of Tai it is also a look at the life of someone who is so dedicated to something that it consumes them and puts them under so much stress that eventually something has to snap. As for how truthful this is to Tai's story is another matter but the writers and director have done a nice job of delivering an entertaining and easy to follow movie even for those like me who know nothing about Tai Babilonia or ice skating.