I, Tonya, Movie Review


by Erin Anderson, Staff Writer

I, Tonya, a movie detailing the life and struggles of famous ice skater, Tonya Harding, has been receiving a lot of buzz amid its many award nominations and wins. Its documentary/dark comedy style brings new light to the different versions of the truth revolving around the attack on Nancy Kerrigan, another famous Olympic ice skater, in 1994.

The beginning of the movie starts off with interviews from Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie), her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan), Tonya’s mother LaVona Golden (Allison Janney), Tonya’s former bodyguard Shawn Eckhardt (Paul Walter Hauser), Tonya’s skating coach Diane Rawlinson (Julianne Nicholson), and a reporter from Hard Copy, Martin Maddox (Bobby Cannavale). Throughout the movie, these interviews are interlaced within the telling of the story itself.

Very early on, the viewer begins to understand the kind of lifestyle Tonya lead at an early age, and how it extended into her later years. Tonya‘s father was very present in her early life, but left when she was very young.

Ice skating had been the center of her life since the age of three. The movie covers all of her attempts, successes, and failures, along with her mother’s constant bruising comments and actions. The film does a terrific job of picturing the difficult movements produced in ice skating, including Tonya’s infamous triple axel jump. Harding is one of only a few skaters who have ever successfully attempted and completed this jump in a competition.

Much of I, Tonya illustrates the twisted and complicated versions of the truth about the attack on Nancy Kerrigan, an ice skater whose abilities rivaled those of Harding’s. It can be difficult to pull the real truth from a bundle of stories, and this film shows just how hard it can be; not only on the public and law enforcement, but also on those involved.

It’s no question why I, Tonya is rated R. Throughout the film, Tonya is subject to abuse from her mother and from her first husband. The abuse goes from slapping and punching to a gunshot and knife wounds.

Along with the abuse, the movie includes a lot of swearing, and not just your run-of-the-mill phrases. The characters are constantly spitting remarks back and forth, and sharing some crude hand signs along the way. Brief images of nudity and quite a bit of smoking are further reasons for the rating of this picture.

Besides the aforementioned cons, I, Tonya presents a fresh new way to introduce a documentary; they don’t always have to be boring flicks shown to high school students in history class. And the critics have noticed this.

Allison Janney, who plays LaVona, Harding’s mother, has won numerous awards for her outstanding performance. Along with Margot Robbie, she has been nominated for an Oscar. The movie itself has been nominated for the Golden Globes, the Critics Choice Awards, and the Oscars.

I, Tonya is definitely a film worth seeing. This movie finally offers the stories of all those involved in the attack on Nancy Kerrigan and makes one wonder how often the truth is twisted in such a way as to bring a whole country against one individual.