Honestly, it is hard to believe a film like this is based on real-life events but some of the most entertaining films are. I, Tonya follows the rocky path of the figure skater, Tonya Harding leading to her devastating demise due to her husband’s attempt to eliminate her rival. Yes, the film focuses a lot on “the incident” however, it was horrifying to learn more about Tonya Harding’s abusive upbringing. The film gave us more of an understanding of one of America’s “most hated” women, allowing us to sympathize with her.
The narrative of I, Tonya is wildly entertaining, however, some portions of this black comedy felt a little much and distracted from the central story. For example, director, Craig Gillespie, decided to shoot the film in a mockumentary format. Although this feels like a smart choice and natural fit given the multiple viewpoints of the narrative, it ultimately loses the story’s authenticity through a jumble of flashy edits and unnecessary slow motion shots.
Although this is clearly Margot Robbie’s showcase (and believe me, she deserves the praise. Full of grit and determination, this is her best performance to date), Allison Janney is the true showstopper. Portraying possibly one of the worst “monster Mom” characters in the history of film, LaVonna Golden, Janney dominates every scene she is in with ice in her veins. It is shocking at times to believe that LaVonna is a real-life person, let alone someone’s mother, but Janney is a definite scene stealer and a guaranteed nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the 2018 Oscars (I’m hoping for a win).
Final Thoughts: Wickedly entertaining, I, Tonya is full of grit and determination to give you more insight into the biggest scandal of the 1994 Olympics but doesn’t score the gold medal.