This was way better than expected. Great acting by all, especially by Robbie and Janey. Absolutely loved the offbeat delivery of the story!
Going to see a movie about Tonya Harding was not something I ever planned on doing, but I will watch anything Craig Gillespie directs, as his movies have a way of making impossible situations believable as plausible tales (see 2007's Lars and the Real Girl or the underrated The Finest Hour). Harding becomes a victim of her own gullibility, thinking it only takes talent and hard work to succeed in the world and that not playing politics will not matter. When other people around her act out on her behalf, well....we all know what happened in the 90's figure skating competitions! We lived it as a country, and finally this tale of a true underdog can be told. Margot Robbie is a force to be reckoned with for sure, if she wasn't before.
Ah - Yes! - Welcome to the wonderfully glamorous (and, of course, highly rewarding) world of women's competitive professional figure skating.And, looking at "I,Tonya" from my perspective - I'd say that it was the ultimate glorification of trash.From its trashy characters, to its trashy situations, to its trashy violence, to its trashy dialogue, to its trashy everything - It was all just - TrashyTrashyTrashyTrashyTrashy Trash!!And, being such absolute trash that it was - (And, in its shameless trashiness) - It actually stooped to the gutter-level mentality of encouraging the viewer to, literally, laugh out loud at what happened to Nancy Kerrigan (as though the whole incident was just a "slapstick" comedy).Tsk. Tsk. Such utter trash that tries to pass itself off as worthwhile entertainment.
In the history of American competitive athletics, there are a few moments that stand the test of time and are remembered many years after they happen. One of these moments is profiled in 'I, Tonya' - the 2017 quasi-fictional documentary-style film that follows the tumultuous life of former U.S. figure skater Tonya Harding (portrayed here by Margot Robbie), who had a swift rise to the top of the podium and an even swifter fall from grace thanks to the actions of her former husband.But 'Tonya' is about more than just "the incident" (as it's referred to in the film) - it takes us behind the curtain to see how the self-professed redneck was able to defy the odds, fending off constant verbal and physical abuse from her monster mother, LaVona (played brilliantly by Allison Janney), and her one-time husband, Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan), to make the U.S. Olympic team twice in two years. 'Tonya' is filmed in an unusual way, where the story's characters are interviewed present day, reflecting back on the events, and we then see these events play out. Director Craig Gillespie takes liberties with this approach, doing things like having the actors break the third wall multiple times to dialogue with the audience and editing together reflections to tell a disjointed story.But as serious as this story could be, since it's not a happy one, it's interesting to see how much sarcasm is injected into 'Tonya.' Of course, this was likely something that was cleared with Harding herself, but it still is almost shocking to see some of the things that are depicted onscreen and are then basically shrugged off. Because Gillooly and her mother were such domineering personalities who controlled Harding, the relationships are what drive the entire film more than anything else. Also not lost on us is the stupidity of nearly everyone involved here - from the attack on Nancy Kerrigan to the cover up, it's like a comedy of error after error - and everything is captured in a way that makes it feel almost unreal.'I, Tonya' is not an amazing film in and of itself, but it's a vehicle through which standout acting performances are carried. And for that reason, it should be recognized.