One of sports' most controversial figures, Tonya Harding, gets to tell her side of the story in this Oscar-nominated, star-studded biopic ... kind of.Based on the shockingly true events and life of disgraced figure skater, Tonya Harding, I, Tonya sets out to tell the background and rise of the figure skater (played by Margot Robbie) and her downfall due to the poorly executed attack on her competitor Nancy Kerrigan. The story is told in different perspectives -- from “the media,” Harding’s abusive ex-husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan), some of her coaches, and her harsh mother (Allison Janney). This narrative technique leaves viewers questioning everything -- Who is telling the truth? Are any of these people believable? Does the truth lie somewhere in the middle? Beyond the sharp-witted language and colorful wardrobe (and outrageous hair), the film's strength lies in the acting. Robbie does an amazing job transforming into the fiery character, while Stan effortlessly switches from goofy to terrifying. But the acclaim and accolades belong with Janney. Her portrayal of the chain-smoking, vulgar LaVona Harding is chilling, but she is able to give a slight melancholy to the role. The Oscar for Best Supporting Actress will go to her.
So it is a comedy or not?The movie is funny, but it's a tragedy on different levels. From getting ridiculed by her mother and being treated differently in the skating community because of her “white trash” upbringing, to the constant beatings by the man who's supposed to love her, Harding developed a strong persona while in pursuit of her dream of Olympic gold. Considering Harding was the first American woman to complete the triple axel in competition, she had the ability and talent to be successful. It was the other circumstances (including her own pride and behavior) that took that dream away from her, however. While she wasn’t the one who directly attacked Kerrigan, she is the one synonymous with the incident and, consequently, became the punchline -- a fact that this movie set out to change. So is the audience supposed to leave this film sympathetic to Harding’s plight? I think that’s up to the individual. But I can guarantee that you will leave the theater thoroughly entertained.
Have you seen I, Tonya
? What did you think? We'd love to read your thoughts in the comments below!