It’s Wednesday, which means yesterday was half price Tuesday at the cinema, which means today is blog post review day… So like many of the people in my damn way, I ventured out into the snow and did some cheap ticket grabbing and saw me a gritty biopic called I,Tonya…
(This review may look as if it’s a little late to the party depending on your location, but this film has only just come out here in the UK)
Margot Robbie leads a cast of the real life story that centers around former american figure skater Tonya Harding. A story perhaps not particularity well known by younger generations but by people of a certain age. I was intrigued by this film’s premise and trailer so put it on the list to watch.
The film opens and introduces viewers in a documentary style way with interview sequences from the handful of main characters this story has to offer. Those who do know about the ‘incident’ surrounding Harding will have their expectations eventually fulfilled but for someone like me, who didn’t know the background I was still treated with some pretty fine performances from the cast along with a great story.
The narrative throughout is done via a unique fourth wall breaking style, with central characters not only narrating but telling the story as it happens along with flash forward interviews.
I, Tonya is the story of a young girl who fights her way to the top of the figure skating scene, even if she is never perceived as good enough, and this is where Margot Robbie delivers. Her ice skating sequences are wonderfully shot with much of it close up and to look as if Robbie was indeed not a stunt double. The emotional side off the ice was just as good and believable with the abusive relationship she found herself in with estranged former husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan). Some of the domestic violence Harding endured isn’t held back in the film and some audience members did gasp.
Much of this film has been taken from real events and real footage, which we see comparisons to at the end much like Tonya Harding’s famous execution of the triple axel in a skating competition along with her interaction with the press. She became the first american woman to attempt and execute this move and so she rightly earned her way into the winter Olympics.
Her mother played by Allison Janney delivered an oscar worthy performance of a real hard ass, nothing is good enough parent who drove Tonya forward in skating. I wont reveal the main plot or resolve to the film as we don’t do spoilers here, but I will say I, Tonya is a fantastically told, and wonderfully shot film put together like a documentary. There are laugh out loud moments sandwiched with some true heartbreak and triumph.
I must commend the wonderful sound track which takes you back very effectively to the eighties and early nineties. Overall I come away from the cinema knowing I watched a great film and story which is worthy of telling.
My favorite moment would be the emotional stare in the mirror Tonya gives as she is desperately trying to keep it together and smile over tears. This scene itself garners an Oscar nod along with the make up effects to age and make the characters look like their real life counterparts
Overall I would say go see it, rock and roll man…