There are so many reasons that would make you hesitant to watch this movie: it’s biographical, it’s about ice-skating and specifically an ice-skating scandal that happened when most of us were children and therefore have no recollection of.
I, Tonya focuses on the life of Tonya Harding who was embroiled in a scandal where her competitor was attacked and she was accused of organsing it.
Stay with me, I,Tonya may be a shot in the dark, but it’s a very good shot at that.
One thing that truly amazed me was Margot Robbie’s skating; apparently she used to play ice-hockey so at least she has some baseline ability but even Olympians refused to do the infamous triple axel for the film. CGI was used and you wouldn’t notice if you weren’t told.
My only criticism is that Margot is a bit too old to play a believable teenager in some scenes, but it was done very tongue-in-cheek because I think everyone on the set realised this as well.
The costumes and style of filming were very true to that time and makes the watching experience a pleasure.
The main characters in the movie are Tonya Harding, her mother and her husband, but we often forget about the victim of this movie, Nancy Kerrigan,
Nancy Kerrigan is Tonya’s main competition for a place on the Olympic ice-skating team but isn’t shown much in the movie. Nancy has one iconic shot that was broadcast all over the news at the time. Her crying while clutching her leg, yelling, her anguish evident.
Margot Robbie plays the protagonist, Tonya Harding, who comes from a poor background and doesn’t reflect the glamour, elegance and grace usually associated with ice-skating. She’s surrounded by toxicity, with a very difficult mother, a ton of pressure and a horrible husband.
Her now ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, is portrayed to be a very abusive and demanding man.
Her mother on the other hand, played perfectly by Allison Janney is the star of this movie. Tonya Harding’s mother LaVona Golden, easily the best character won Allison Janney a very deserving Oscar for the supporting actress role. Tonya Harding herself said Allison Janney’s portrayal of her mother ‘was fabulous’. LaVona is a chain smoker, mild to moderate alcoholic and terrible mother.
The story follows Tonya from when she was a child, already skating circles around people at the age of four. Her mom was clearly abusive; verbally, emotionally and physically but worked numerous jobs to make sure Tonya had costumes and a coach for her skating career.
Tonya then marries a man who, according to the movie, causes all of the drama we now know her for. I don’t think we’ll ever discover the complete truth about what happened to Nancy Kerrigan but we know that she took a baton to the knee, which ruined her chances of competing in the 1994 National Championship.
Tonya was accused of organising or being involved in the attack but to this day she says she had nothing to do with it. The story follows these incredible characters and how ice-skating changed Tonya’slife for the better, and then for the worse.
The movie earned two Oscar nominations, of which Allison Janney won hers. Margot Robbie is absolutely phenomenal and truly deserves her nomination. The movie makes me feel so much compassion for Tonya Harding and even though Nancy Kerrigan will always be the true victim, their story is a lot more complicated than everyone first thought.
This movie is not only brilliant, for a movie about ice-skating, it’s actually a must watch and that’s why I’ve given it an 8 out of 10.
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