“I, Tonya” stars Margot Robbie as the controversial Olympic figure skater, Tonya Harding. This movie is basically a look at her life growing up, everything she went through in the Olympics, and her involvement in the 1994 attack on fellow figure skater, Nancy Kerrigan. This movie also features supporting roles from Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney as Tonya’s husband and mother, respectively.
Starting things off right away with this review, all of the performances are top-notch. Both Robbie and Janney are fresh off of Oscar nominations for their performances and I fully think that they’re both well earned. Robbie has shown that she can play crazy very well, but it’s a more realistic and even sympathetic type of crazy in this film. The way Tonya is is ultimately because of her abusive mother as Allison Janney absolutely steals every scene she’s in. She’s playing the most despicable, unlikable mother you could imagine and it’s quite disturbing to watch. Also, credit to Sebastian Stan for giving a performance that makes him stand out from his mold of Bucky Barnes in the Marvel films. He does a good job in playing morally questionable accomplice to Tonya, squeaky voice and all.
What this movie does very well is in telling its story in a mockumentary style. There’s interviews with the people portrayed by the actors in this movie and you actually feel like you’re watching a demented documentary. With that, this movie gives out a lot of conflicting information about certain people and events, but that’s the point. There’s people who give their own side to the story and the end result is simply a story that’s conveyed by the information that we’re given. You could argue that one of the movie’s themes is misinformation and it’s handled in a very interesting way.
Ultimately, this movie is also about the cycle of abuse. Tonya Harding gets put through the ringer in this film and after a some time spent doing some fact-checking, you come to realize that a lot of what happens in this movie is accurate. It really paints of picture of Tonya Harding, one that makes you realize that she obviously has problems and she could’ve handled things better, but the abuse she gets put through is more than anyone can handle. It’s quite informative in showing a side of Tonya Harding that’s a lot more than her being some psycho. She gets the short end of the stick in how she’s treated and it does what any biopic should do: inform.
My only flaw with the movie is that I feel it drags on near the end. The last act of the movie is dedicated solely to the Nancy Kerrigan incident and the investigation that follows. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very interesting to watch and you learn all sorts of new details about the case, but I still recall a point in the film when it could’ve ended perfectly, but it just kept going on for another 15-20 minutes. The last act does feel drawn out and it does have an effect on the pacing as a whole.
In the end, “I, Tonya” informed me in a very entertaining and darkly humorous way. I learned a lot more about Tonya Harding, specifically her role in the attack on Kerrigan and along with the great performances and unique way of telling the story, I walked out of the theater feeling satisfied with what I saw.
Rating: Full Price!