I, Tonya revolves around the life of figure skater Tonya Harding, who has suffered abuse from childhood to adulthood and the events that led up to bashing the knees of her fellow figure skater, Nancy Karrigan and how that totally derailed Harding’s life.
Margot Robbie really shines in this role and you really feel for Tonya, her mother, played by Allison Janney – who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for this role, was horrible to Tonya but her “f you” attitude was kind of hilarious. Sebastian Stan played Tonya’s ex-husband, Jeff Gilooly is equally as horrible as Harding’s mother. Tonya who grown up in an abusive household for most of her life, does have some of her mother’s mannerisms, which don’t exactly fit the figure skater image so she struggles with being herself in front of the judges.
What I think this film is missing is Nancy Karrigan and how the events of this film affected her. Obviously with a title like I, Tonya the story should surround Tonya Harding. But Karrigan is hardly seen throughout the film and I think the film would have more of an impact if we got to see more of the relationship between Harding and Karrigan.
The director has said that the film is based on contradictory interviews of Harding and Gilooly when the incident occured. So a criticism that I have is that I don’t know if I should feel sympathetic to Tonya because I’m not sure whether or not the story she is telling is true. She could be lying about certain aspects of her childhood and could have had a bigger role in the incident with Karrigan, which the film paints that she was totally unaware of until her husband confides in her. But I do think the media was too harsh on Harding and that she didn’t deserve all the bombarding and hate directed towards her.
Otherwise, I did find this film really interesting. I was impressed with the choreography of the figure skating and how they were able to recreate Harding’s same routines. Though some of the CGI used in those scenes were very noticeable and did take me out of the film a bit.
I give I, Tonya a B+