This movie surprised me: I teared up and cried a little for Tonya Harding. She’s been known as an Olympic villain for so long…and here we see that she may have been unfairly painted by history. If this story is an accurate representation, then I feel bad for believing the worst of this girl. I hated seeing her crummy life, the abuse, and how she couldn’t seem to get a break. But I also reveled in her Triple Axle Jump, and obvious adoration of the sport. It’s clear her first and real love is figure skating.
But how were the actors? Really, top notch. We got to see how well they inhabited their roles during the credit reels. Margot Robbie was absolutely believable, if much much taller than the real Harding – but who cares about that? She pulled off a difficult role, carrying 90% of the film. I look forward to seeing this actor mature.
Sabastian Stan was almost unrecognizable. This is the freaking WINTER SOLDIER, folks (he even gets a funny little line about superheroes), but in I, Tonya, he’s a detestable, bumbling, moronic boob.
The best work by far — no shock here — was by Allison Janney. I hated her character with the fire of a sun, but her iron gravitas and mean wit was undeniable. She’s awful. She’s great. Janney has been underrated since her work in The West Wing, and I’d love to see her garner some awards and bigger roles after this.
The conceit of the character interviews (it’s not “4th wall breaking” if the character is filmed within the film) added a deft and light touch to an otherwise sad, desperate plot. I did like the 80s/90s musical cues and outfits. The direction was pretty standard, as anything more stylish would have only called attention to itself.
I personally didn’t love I, Tonya, since it’s pretty bleak; not my idea of a fun time. I wouldn’t have seen it if I didn’t need to get Peetimes. But it does tell an interesting tale. I’m not sure it needed to be told after all this time, but it does have that nostalgia factor and really excellent acting. I expect there will be awards aplenty.
Movie Grade: A-