I, Tonya Movie Review

Claire Donohoe, Arts and Entertainment Writer

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The new movie, I, Tonya, has collected a fair amount of interest since its release. The film is based on true events, telling the story of Olympic athlete Tonya Harding, and the occurrences that led up to her performance in the 1994 Winter Olympics.

Most people know about Tonya Harding,who holds the title of an incredible figure-skater, and the first American woman in sports history to land a triple-axel in figure skating, but her legacy was forever linked with one of the biggest sports scandals in history, when Nancy Kerrigan, a competitive rival of Harding, was assaulted, and her knee was shattered by an assailant hired by Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly.

The movie addresses a well-known subject, one that many people still remember when it took place, as it delves into Tonya Harding’s life before the Olympics. It tells almost a new story of what happened, bringing forward new thoughts provoking viewers to question how involved Harding really was in the assault of Nancy Kerrigan.

I, Tonya is a black comedy about Harding’s life, looking into her childhood, career, and relationships. Margot Robbie stars as Tonya Harding, Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gillooly, and Alison Janney as LaVona Harding. The film so far has earned three golden globe nominations, including one for Margot Robbie for best actress.

Tonya Harding herself wasn’t very involved in the actual movie. She didn’t provide an interview, but she wasn’t disappointed with the film when she saw it. “I was grateful that [I, Tonya screenwriter Steven Rogers] actually came to us first, but I wasn’t going to do it,” Harding told The Hollywood Reporter, an American entertainment magazine. “I was like, ‘I don’t want to go through this again. I’ve been through enough, and I have my son now.’ Michael Rosenberg, my manager, talked me into doing this possibly as closure. I was so nervous to watch it, but when I saw it, I wasn’t watching a movie about me. I was watching Margot, and then I went, ‘Oh, my goodness. That’s about me.’”

According to a review from the Washington Post, “I, Tonya is funny when it wants to be, poignant when it needs to be and surprisingly effective in harnessing these deeper themes to a character who might otherwise be dismissed as a lightweight laughingstock.” The article goes on to summarize and comment on the storyline, the actors’ performances, and the overall production of the film. “Directed by Craig Gillespie from a screenplay by Steve Rogers, the film is based on what we are told, via on-screen titles, were a series of ‘irony-free, wildly contradictory, totally true’ interviews that Rogers conducted with Harding and her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly (masterfully rendered here by Margot Robbie and Sebastian Stan, in period-perfect makeup, hair and clothes.)”

The acting in I, Tonya is phenomenal, and really brings to light a new perspective on each of the characters. The film is rated R, mostly for strong language and violence, and received a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie itself is entertaining from start to finish, with interesting turns in plot as well as a fair amount of dark humor, and certainly deserved its high rating.

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