The true story of figure skater Tonya Harding, whose self-destructive relationships led to an international media circus in the early 90's.
I, Tonya (2017)
Directed by Craig Gillespie
Written by Steven Rogers
Starring Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney,
Julianne Nicholson, Paul Walter Hauser, Bobby Cannavale
Oscar Wins - Best Supporting Actress (Allison Janney)
Oscar Nominations - Best Actress (Margot Robbie),
Best Film Editing
In the early 1990's, there wasn't a soul in the world who didn't know the name Tonya Harding. Once the greatest figure skater in the world, Tonya's career came to an abrupt end in 1994 when her competitor Nancy Kerrigan was assaulted by a man hired by Tonya's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly. What followed was an unbelievable media circus that turned Tonya Harding into a household name, a cultural icon, and a nationwide pariah following her lifetime ban from figure skating. This film tells the story from her perspective, from her abusive relationship with both her mom and her husband to her accomplishments as a skater and finally her downfall due to the incident. Led by a career-defining performance from Margot Robbie, I, Tonya is a highly entertaining biopic that does justice to one of America's most oddball true stories.
Margot Robbie transforms into Tonya Harding, delivering a powerhouse performance that has netted her a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Alongside her, Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney both deliver equally phenomenal performances as Tonya's husband Jeff and mother LaVona, respectively. The film never once tries to justify Tonya's or Jeff's actions, and instead lays out the facts from their points of view. As Tonya says in the movie, "There's no such thing as truth. Everyone has their own truth." It's a line that perfectly defines the point of the film. From the way I saw it, Tonya Harding was absolutely involved in the attack on Nancy Kerrigan, though she may not have known how far Jeff and his dimwit buddy Shawn were planning on taking it. But I love that the film never paints her as an angel. Tonya was the bad girl of figure skating and never cared what anybody thought about her because she knew she was the best. It's just a shame she got a lifetime ban, because she could've easily gone on to dominate the Olympics after the incident calmed down.
I, Tonya succeeds in telling Tonya Harding's story and paints her as somewhat sympathetic, but headstrong as hell. I wish they'd shown a bit of the story from Nancy's perspective, as she's mentioned a few times but really only glossed over. Still, the film was very enjoyable and I wish it luck at the Oscars. It was certainly one of 2017's best biopics.