I can’t believe that people this dumb managed to plot one of the most infamous sports scandals of all time.
Starring Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Julianne Nicholson and Paul Walter Hauser, ‘I, Tonya’ is the 2017 dark comedy/biopic about infamous Figure Skater Tonya Harding and the 1994 attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan.
Based on the crazy true story, ‘I, Tonya’ follows Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie), an American figure skater who became the first American woman to complete a triple axel during a competition. Under the pressure of her estranged mother (Allison Janney), she inspires to become the best Figure Skater in the world. But when her ex-husband (Sebastian Stan) gets involved in a conspiracy, her future career is put in jeopardy.
I didn’t really know that much about Tonya Harding going into this movie. I only knew that she was an infamous Figure Skater and nothing else. I did know some details about the 1994 “incident” but not much more about it. So I was very intrigued by the story of Tonya Harding and how the 1994 attack on her rival resulted in her Figure Skating career ending.
While watching ‘I, Tonya’, I was captivated the whole time which really took me by surprise. Her life was intriguing and I loved seeing her career rise and fall. It’s definitely one of the best biopics I’ve seen in a few years.
The first major positive I have is the directing from Craig Gillespie, who has also made ‘Lars and the Real Girl’, which was one of my favourite movies to come out in the mid-2000s. The almost-documentary format of it is amazing and the fourth wall breaks that happen throughout work really well. What I mean by the “almost-documentary format” are the interview clips that appear throughout. Every actor/actress does an interview in the style of what their real-life counterparts had already done and it’s brilliant. The interviews complement the story and it’s a format that suited the movie.
It’s also structured really well, with the whole movie reminding me of the Martin Scorsese classic, ‘Goodfellas’. They are both very similar in filmmaking style and it makes ‘I, Tonya’ standout among all of the other movies to come out in 2017. The fast-paced style suited the craziness of the true story which is really hard to do with biopics.
Moving onto the what everyone will be talking about, the performances. Margot Robbie knocks it out of the park with what is easily her best performance to date. She is terrific as Tonya Harding and even talked and acted exactly like the real-life Tonya. She humanised one of the most infamous women in sporting history and you have to give her credit for that. Margot Robbie is unbelievably good in ‘I, Tonya’ and her performance here proves that she is one of the best working actresses in the movie industry.
However, the real standout was Allison Janney who is almost unrecognisable as LaVona Harding. Her performance as Tonya’s abusive, yet slightly “caring” mother was easily the best supporting performance by an actress in 2017. Allison Janney stole every scene she was in and every scene with her and Margot Robbie was emotional and very memorable (the kitchen and motel scene gave me chills). She gave a powerhouse performance and she made the movie even better.
Sebastian Stan was also amazing as Tonya’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly. You could tell that he did his research on the real-life Jeff as he sounded and looked exactly like him. It was really good to see him in this role as it proves that he can do more than just play a superhero in Marvel movies.
Everyone else from Julianne Nicholson to Paul Walter Hauser was also great. To put it plainly, all of the performances were top notch.
The cinematography was great. As I was saying earlier, the whole documentary-type format works really well and the cinematography was the reason it looked so damn good. From the fly on the wall feel to the amazing tracking shots of Tonya skating, the cinematography was great.
Everything from the costumes to the hairstyles was very accurate to the time period and the actual people, like Tonya Harding’s costumes. They nailed the design of the movie.
The only real negative I had with ‘I, Tonya’ was the CGI. CGI is used a lot during the skating scenes and it’s pretty good for the most part. The CGI use around the crowds was great but you could definitely tell that they used a CGI Margot Robbie at times and you can even see the slight outline of a green screen at times. I know it’s a nitpick but I do try and find negatives. It definitely doesn’t ruin the movie though.
Overall, ‘I, Tonya’ is a darkly funny biopic that humanises one of the most controversial sporting women of all time. With Margot Robbie and Allison Janney at their best and a fast-paced style that suits the craziness of Tonya’s life, ‘I, Tonya’ is an amazing movie that will stand out as one of the best movie biopics of all time.