After suffering a bad fall during a competition, single skater Kat Baker (Scodelario) is considering giving up the sport. Skating coach, Dasha Federova (Svetlana Efremova) offers her the chance to continue her career as a pairs skater. As she and her partner Justin (Evan Roderick) train, she struggles with her family, mental illness, and fear of getting back on the ice.
Spinning Out contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Carol is both physically and emotionally abusive. She blames Kat for the end of her own skating career, slaps her across the face, insults her abilities, and steals her hard earned money, as well as dragging Serena out of bed at four in the morning and forcing her to do pushups in the snow. Before all of this, she insisted upon the change to Kat's routine that resulted in Kat falling, blamed the skating coach, and forced Serena to lie about it.
- Big Sister Instinct: Kat is extremely protective of Serena, doing things like breaking into Mitch's trailer and risking missing her own slot at sectionals to make sure she's okay.
- Good Stepmother: Mandy has a very good relationship with her husband's children.
- I Coulda Been a Contender!: Carol was an extremely skilled skater in her youth, but getting pregnant with Kat put an end to her career and Olympic dreams.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Carol insists that she made Kat's coach make the change to Kat's routine at the last minute, resulting in Kat falling, for Kat.
- Missing Mom: Justin's mother died when he was younger after being hit by a drunk driver.
- Pursue the Dream Job: Marcus turns down Stanford medical school to ski.
- Self-Harm: Kat bites herself as a means of coping with stressful situations.
- Shout-Out: Justin references The Hunger Games when looking at his and Kat's skating costumes.Justin: We look like we're getting ready for the Hunger Games tribute parade.
- Stage Mom: Carol is extremely strict with Serena's training and used to behave the same way with Kat. This extended to interfering with their coaches' instructions, and it strained her relationship with both daughters.
- Technician vs. Performer: Kat is the performer to Serena's technician. Serena is more consistent with more power behind her jumps, but it's typically Kat whose skating draws the attention and whom no one can look away from. One side character specifically notes that Serena's technical jumps should help make up for her low artistic scores.
- Time-Shifted Actor: Maya Misaljevic plays a young Serena.