I, Tonya is a wild ride from start to finish in this dog-eat-dog world of ours. Plus, the superb performances from both Margot Robbie and Alison Janney helped give this film an extra kick.
Flashy like an American tabloid, I, Tonya retells the unbelievable story of former American figure skater, Tonya Harding. Like her or hate her, this is a movie that speaks volumes regarding our society, politics, gender and all of the above. Setup as a mockumentary-style, as well as breaking the fourth wall, director Craig Gillespie’s (Lars and the Real Girl and 2011's Fright Night) film takes a dramatic look at Harding’s life and the events leading up to the 1994 attack. Harding’s story still reflects how men and even the world treat women in the spotlight, regardless of whether you believe that she played a crucial role in the attack. Women, like Harding, want to be treated equally in our society and not to be viewed as passive objects as some men still see them to be.
This movie screams that through the fourth wall and in the end it’s a complete knockout. This biopic of Harding’s life is a whirlwind from her constant struggle with her aggressive mother (a crude – stellar Janney), to her abusive relationship with her ex-husband (a crazy Sebastian Stan), to the tragic events leading up to the knee bashing of fellow figure skater, Nancy Kerrigan. It’s all on the table. Robbie performs her best role to-date as the sharp mouthed skater endlessly trying to make it to the top. The film recreates interviews with the people associated around this event, minus Kerrigan. We hear from Harding (an outstanding Robbie), LaVona Fay Golden (Janney), Harding’s demon mother; Jeff Gillooly (Stan), Harding’s ex-husband; Shawn Eckhardt (Paul Walter Hauser), Harding’s idiot bodyguard; Diane Rawlinson (Julianne Nicholson), Harding's skating coach and Martin Maddox (Bobby Cannavale), a Hard Copy producer.
Coming out 23 years after this fiasco, I, Tonya comes to the theaters and conquers the spotlight again but in a different way. Gillespie’s movie cuts deep as it reflects on the class-conscious America and the exploitation we tend to ignore or dismiss. With a fast-paced script, sharp editing and a moving camera, you’re for an entertaining ride. At times hilarious and at other emotional, Gillespie’s turns this story into a triumph. On top of that, the film is upheld by the grand, at times often darkly comedic, performances from actresses Robbie and Janney. Like a rush of blood to your head, this unbelievable story never misses a beat. By the last frame, this film it hits you like a slap to the face. I, Tonya is 2017’s most fabulous and tragic film to come out. Finally, for better or for worse, Harding is here to stay.
I, Tonya is rated R (Restricted). For pervasive language, violence, and some sexual content/nudity.