ABOUT THE WRITER: Hero of Hyrule. Pokemaster. Foodie. Writer. Producer. Actual Potato. Criss Gidas is a passionate filmmaker who wants to tell diverse stories about real people in a humanistic way.
I, Tonya tells the story of competitive ice skater, Tonya Harding, who rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes. Ever since the trailers were leased for this film, you just knew that I, Tonya was going to be a brilliant film! It certainly didn’t disappoint. It had one of the best trailers for 2017 and made you desperately want to see it.
Directed by Craig Gillespie, I, Tonya is led by true emotional depth and balanced with humor, without losing the sight of its more tragic moments and the strength of its leading ladies, Margot Robbie and her mother in the film, Allison Janney (who almost completely steals the show). Packed with an incredible cast, the movie is supported by the talented likes of Sebastian Stan, Paul Walter Hauser, and Bobby Cannavale.
The personal interviews, dotted throughout the film in a mockumentary style, give it that extra edge that’s needed to get completely absorbed into Tonya’s world and the people involved in her life. Though it may have been a shame that this didn’t truly extend to the end of the film, the second half is still as entertaining as the first with fowl dialogue to boot. This is what breaks it away from the standard biopic that can become quite boring and formulaic. It had comedic depth with a catch soundtrack that was representative of its era.
There have been some wonderings of why this film was made after so long, but now that we’ve spent that time away from the incident, we can really look back at what happened in a new light. I, Tonya helps us identify with Tonya Harding as she suffered from both physical and psychological abuse from her rage-filled husband and foul-mouthed mother.
While no one’s hands are completely clean in what happened to Nancy Kerrigan, Harding is, at the problem’s heart, a victim of circumstances. She’s extremely talented in her own right and was unduly limited in certain factors regarding her image and attitude.
Both Robbie and Janney deserve every ounce of recognition for this film, with Sebastian Stan also deserving praise for his underrated performance in I, Tonya. Their commitment to the characters, especially with Robbie and her months of dedication to learning how to figure skate, is quite sensational and truly reflects in the film’s credibility and authenticity.