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  • inikim2 January 2018
    Why relevant? Until I saw this movie, in my point of view Tonya Harding was a cheat and a lowlife and this was entirely based on the media coverage of the events in 1994. Having seen the movie I feel ashamed about how easily I judged her and I realised I have to be way more careful in forming my opinion about people.
  • rockman1827 December 2017
    I think this film may have had the best trailer of 2017. I saw it and knew instantly how badly I wanted to see it. I've never been a fan of Margot Robbie and her previous acting efforts but this looked like her awakening and where she would be proving me wrong. I believe it, she's quite sensational in this film. Her dedication to her role shows but really everyone involved has done very well. Craig Gillespie has his first real winner with I, Tonya.

    I, Tonya is a biographical picture about famed and disgraced figure skater, Tonya Harding. Tonya was pushed onto the rink by her abusive mother at a very young age and despite the abuse becomes a very talented ice skater. The cycle of abuse continues with her abusive husband but she tries to bear through and succeed. Everyone seems to be against her but her talent is hard to deny. The film also goes into the famed attack on fellow ice skater Nancy Kerrigan and the aftermath of the incident.

    The film is sort of told from a mockumentary perspective as if key characters are being interviewed. The film also utilizes breaking the fourth wall where characters in a scene would talk to the audience. I thought this was interesting and separates itself from being a standard biopic and gives this film a real comedic depth. The soundtrack is catchy and literally every performance in this film makes for a very engaging time. I didn't even recognize the chameleon Bobby Cannavale until the credits rolled.

    Some wonder why the film was made but it kind of helps you identify with Tonya. She suffered physical and psychological abuse from both her foul mouthed mother and her rage filled husband. Her hands may not be completely clean in what happens to Nancy Kerrigan, but she is also just a victim of circumstances. Vastly talented, but just short of reaching her pinnacle due to outside factors and her image and attitude. The film isn't perfect but its vastly entertaining and could be giving Margot Robbie and Allison Janney Oscar nominations. I'm going to let this sink in and I'm sure its going to be something I go back to.

  • Anyone who was old enough to be sucked in by the media circus that this scandal turned into should make it a point to take a look at this film, in my opinion.

    The media seemed much more about the sensationalism of it all than it was about maintaining the kind of objective balance that'd presume Tonya's innocence until evidence proved otherwise. But being honest, even if evidence came along that absolved Harding of any wrongdoing in the Kerrigan attack, how happy would the media have been to report it? Or would we have been to hear it? Because we've got to admit that, although it might not seem very nice, there was quite a bit of fun to be had during the couple months we spent focusing on this Hillbilly girl and her bumbling husband, right? Well with that in mind, what would the thought of her innocence have brought, other than damage to the narrative we were having such fun with? Regardless of where you stand in regards to her innocence, its only fair to acknowledge that her role had been laid out for her pretty much from the get-go. Kerrigan was its hero the moment she became the victim, could we have honestly entertained the notion that maybe Harding wasn't as much the villain as seemed to befit the story? How fun would that have been? Really?

    In the last couple months, the articles about this upcoming movie had comment sections riddled with people mostly bemoaning the current state of Hollywood. Not the scandals, but that it'd even stoop so low as to peddle this kind of white trash story. "White trash" came up repeatedly of course, and while comment sections generally aren't the place to find the best sampling of voices, I personally wasn't able to find a single comment that was anything other than damningly derivative of Hollywood and/or Tonya...certainly not one suggesting the possibility that maybe there was more to this story than what we already knew. But that was always a possibility, wasn't it? The telling of a side that we hadn't heard?

    After seeing the flick last night, I passed along my recommendation of it to a friend, commenting that Tonya Harding's guilt might have to be re-thought. In response, I got a chuckling, "Oh I have a hard time believing that!" Which, sure that has to be the prevailing opinion, I'd imagine. But why? Do we really and truly think that we have the kind of information on the subject that'd allow for the most objective, fact-based decision on it? Have many of us ever stopped long enough to have wondered whether or not we did? The line of questioning isn't likely to be met with much more than scoffs by those who've yet to view the movie, but they're questions that end up being well begged and something that the same people may find themselves unwittingly exploring afterward. I sure have been.

    In the meantime, this isn't just a great movie, but a great sports movie, detailing an ice skating prodigy who love for skating drove her life, and whose life ultimately served as a testament to just how influential a class system can be that many of us are barely cognizant of even existing. Based off interviews and testimony from the key players in the Kerrigan scandal, watching it brings a much needed sense of balance to the story and will likely leave you amazed at how easily the truth can be blurred when viewed through the lens of sensationalized media coverage.

    10/10, great movie that grabs you from its opening scene and will have you entranced throughout.
  • Man, I personally found this one to be an exceedingly uncomfortable watch.

    "I, Tonya" is cleverly filmed as a pseudo-documentary, featuring re-enactments of the real-life interviews of most of the participants in this true-life drama. I recently bitterly criticised some film critics for spoiling the story of Donald Crowhurst, the subject of the recent "The Mercy". But I was about to do exactly the same here, *assuming* that you all know the lurid tale of the rivalry between Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan that led up to an 'event' in 1994 that shocked the world. And of course, many of you younger folk don't know: case in point my 26 year old son who I went to see this with, and who went into the story blissfully blind of the drama about to unfold. So I will try to keep this review spoiler-free.

    Playing Tonya from a (not very credible!) 15 years old to her mid-20's is Margot Robbie ("The Wolf of Wall Street", "Suicide Squad") in what is a BAFTA and Oscar nominated performance. And for good reason: the performance is raw, visceral and disturbing in reflecting a victim who still thinks everything at heart is her own fault.

    Also BAFTA and Oscar nominated is Allison Janney ("The Girl on the Train") as Tonya's obnoxious chain-smoking mother LaVona. Janney is truly terrifying as the mother who abuses her daughter both physically and mentally in a driven attempt to make her the best ice-skater in the world.

    Victims seem to attract abusers, and Tonya is surrounded by people who are just plain bad for her: notably her husband Jeff (Sebastian Stan, "The Martian", "Captain America: Winter Soldier") and his slimy and pitifully self-deluded friend Shawn (Paul Walter Hauser). The end credits video footage of the real-life players show just how well these parts were cast.

    Why so uncomfortable to watch? There is a significant degree of domestic abuse featured in the film, both in terms of LaVona on her child and Jeff on his wife. This is something I abhor in general, having been brought up to believe it is never EVER acceptable to lay a hand on a woman. To have these cowardly individuals sensationalised in the movie I found to be really upsetting. I strongly feel, for this reason alone, that the film should have had an 18 certificate. Violence in film should be related to the context as well as the severity. (Note that this is in stark contrast to my comments of recent BBFC decisions to make "Phantom Thread" and "Lady Bird" 15-certificates when I believe they should have been 12A).

    The film is executed extremely well, with 4:3 framing for the staged interviews, and ice skating scenes that seamlessly cut between the professional clearly doing the stunts and Robbie (who must also be a half decent skater too). The soundtrack is nicely littered - "Guardians of the Galaxy" style - with classic hits of the early 90's.

    To think that this story actually unfolded in this way is nothing short of astounding... but it did! There is an astonishing video clip here (#spoilers) of the run up to, and the immediate aftermath of, the Kerrigan incident. I came out of the film with a deep feeling of sadness for Harding (at least, as portrayed) and utter disgust that the villains of this piece could be a) so cruel and out of control and b) so utterly stupid. These are individuals who really should have been sterilised to stop them polluting the gene pool any further.

    Written by Steven Rogers ("Stepmom") and directed by Australian Craig Gillespie, there is no doubting that this is a powerful film: played to an absolutely silent and gripped Saturday night cinema audience. And it has truly dynamite performances from Allison Janney and Margot Robbie. But be warned that you'll need a strong stomach to go and see it without being affected by it afterwards. It's a mental keeper.
  • If I could have voted online for the best movie that I saw at TIFF 2017 (the voting was limited to iPhone and Android users), it would have been for this film, which wound up second in the People's Choice award competition. Director Craig Gillespie has tackled a difficult subject brilliantly without removing the considerable number of warts from the main characters. This film should garner a considerable number of Oscar nominations, including best picture and director.

    Margot Robbie should be a lock for a Best Actress nod, completely burying her Australian background to deliver American white trash with complete credibility. (She won't win of course, because ... Tonya.) Her skating sequences are edited brilliantly - you really believe that it's her.

    THE surest Oscar bet has to be Allison Janney as Tonya's acerbic, domineering, Swisher-chain-smoking mother LaVona Golden. She gives what I call a "schizophrenia" performance - there's no way that anyone seeing JUNO and this film back-to-back would ever notice that the mothers in both films are played by the same actress. Robbie got the loudest applause when the actors were introduced before the film, but when they came out afterwards, Janney's applause was equivalent to hers.

    The story sticks to facts and places most of the blame for the Kerrigan incident on Sean Eckhardt, played with spot-on obnoxiousness by Paul Walter Hauser. The rest goes to hubby-at-times Jeff Gillooly, played by Sebastian Stan. He handles the husband-to-a-celebrity role with a charm not seen since Eric Roberts in STAR 80.

    The subject matter may cost the film at awards time, but it's still an excellent movie that you should definitely check out if you have any interest at all in the story.
  • Tonight I went to the opening night film at the Philadelphia Film Festival and it turned out to be "I, Tonya". I wasn't particularly thrilled about this, as I really didn't care much about seeing a biopic about Tonya Harding. In hindsight, I am glad I saw it as the film was exceptionally well directed and the acting was occasionally brilliant. In particular, Australian actress Margot Robbie was simply amazing as Harding—turning in the sort of performance that could mean an Oscar nomination. Likewise, Allison Janney was amazing as well…playing Tonya's incredibly despicable mother. You really have to respect the great job both of them did in the film…as well as Robbie's learning to skate well in order to make this movie.

    The film is about the life of Tonya Harding….yes, THAT Tonya Harding…the one who gained infamy for her part in the attack on rival ice skater Nancy Kerrigan back in 1994. My daughter was only a small child at the time of the attack and I told her nothing about Harding because I wanted to see her perspective on the story. Both of us left very impressed. However, I must put in a warning about the film. It is very violent….filled with intense and very realistic domestic violence…among the most realistic I have ever seen. With my background as a psychotherapist, this churned up a lot of memories for me and the film often had me in tears. If you have been a victim of domestic violence, then I strongly urge you to think twice before you see the picture…or at least see it with someone you love. Seeing Tonya being slugged, slapped and even shot was tough to watch. Interestingly, often the audience responded by laughing…an inappropriate but thoroughly understandable coping mechanism for such ugliness.

    Does the film excuse Harding's behaviors or paint her out to be a victim? Not really…and if it had, the film would have been a waste of time. What it does do is help you at least understand who she was and why she did what she did…as she was more than just an intense competitor who didn't come forward when she learned her husband and his friend had physically assaulted Tonya's competitor, Nancy Kerrigan. Overall, a fascinating look back to one of the most celebrated news stories of the 1990s….one that folks who are old fogies, like me, well remember!
  • ggallegosgroupuk7 December 2017
    I was going to make a list of people who made extraordinary things during the same period that Tonya Harding monopolized the headlines but then I thought it was a pointless exercise. Charles Manson will always be more famous, much more than Sharon Tate. That's the world we live in or maybe it always was. The sadness verging on horror of of the Tonya Harding story will win, fascination wise, than any kind of kindness from anyone anywhere. Now that out of my system let me say that I Tonya is an entertaining harrowing tale directed by Craig Gillespie and his extraordinary cinematographer Nicholas Karakatsanis with, clearly, Martin Scorsese in their minds and hearts. Margot Robbie is terrific and Sebastian Stan as the husband from hell, superb but it's Allison Janney that creates a character that is impossible to take and irresistible at the same time. She is spectacular. So, that's more than enough to recommend I Tonya but if the Tabloid Times is something you subscribe I will highly recommend Gus Van Sant's To Die For and Michael Ritchie's made for television The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom.
  • jon.h.ochiai15 January 2018
    "I, Tonya" is amazing. Margot Robbie gifts a career defining performance. Margot plays disgraced 1994 US Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding. Her performance as Tonya is fearless, vulnerable, sad and poignantly flawed. Harding is notorious for knowing about the attack upon US figure skating Champion Nancy Kerrigan which led to her eventual ban from competitive skating which was her life.

    Director Craig Gillespie neither vilifies nor justifies Tonya offering the experience of being her. That she wanted to be loved, to be gotten, and to be the best. At the time Tonya was the only women's figure skater in the world to land the impossible triple axel in competition. Robbie as Tonya in an interview in the movie acknowledged when she landed the triple axel in the trials she knew, "I was the best!" Tonya was driven, the figure skating phenom, but she was less than phenom in her life. I think that is the poignancy of Gillespie's direction and Steven Rogers's story.

    "I, Tonya" is not really dark comedy. "I, Tonya" is just dark with laughs in its irony and the stupidity of those closest to Tonya. The movie is the dichotomy that defines the tragedy of domestic violence and abuse. In one scene Tonya's husband Jeff, played by convincing Sebastian Stan, slams the freezer door in Tonya's face, because she questions why he didn't buy Dove ice cream bars. That is so wrong. That makes you so angry.

    Gillespie depicts that pattern of abuse throughout of beating on screen. And Tonya takes it, and stays until she can no longer. The abuse originates with Mom LaVona, played by focused Allison Janney, who thinks she is tough love as she pushes her daughter in her skating career. No, Mom is an abuser. Janney's LaVona could have been comic caricature; instead she brilliantly nuances the single Mom working waitress raising her kid the way she was raised. Robbie is touching humanity as Tonya, who has the self awareness that she is uneducated, but she is smarter than she thinks and way smarter than those surrounding her.

    "I, Tonya" and Robbie in contrasts of edgy humor and human cruelty touchingly tells the story of how we are raised and the people we choose to spend life with either define or curse. Much about Tonya seems to be the in order to, to prove something. In the great scene before her competition her new Coach Doty, played by strong Bojana Novakovic, tells her "You show them." That I think becomes the conversation that dominates Tonya's life.

    Needing her Mom's help after she leaves husband Jeff, Tonya sees her Mom. She asks her Mom that when she was a kid, "Did you love me?" Robbie's Tonya is in tears. That breaks your heart. Really Tonya just wanted to be loved, like we all do. That may be the point of Gillespie's "I, Tonya" with all its emotional extremes and uncomfortable laughs. Perhaps, most of the laughs come from the blatant stupidity of Jeff and his idiot friend Shawn, played by good Paul Walter Hauser.

    Maybe "I, Tonya" works in its profound sadness as well. Toward the end Tonya says, "I am not a monster." No, she's not. She is just the little girl who wanted to be loved and never got it. She was driven and wanted to be the best. Tonya is just human. She is both lightness and darkness. Perhaps within "I, Tonya" are loud laughs and the subtle lesson of having compassion. "I, Tonya" is one of my favorite movies of the year.
  • I must have been at a different movie than those who did not like it. The story is well written, the acting was excellent and the twist in the way the story is delivered makes for a memorable event. At certain points when Tonya speaks to the audience she speaks right to you. A great story to get lost in and I was not really interested in seeing this when I went into the theater.
  • "I, Tonya" is a biographic film telling the story of the notorious American figure skater Tonya Harding, brilliantly performed by the Australian actress and producer Margot Robbie. The dramatic and heartbreaking storyline is supported by magnificent screenplay by Steven Rogers that combines dark comedy and docudrama and fantastic music score. The truth behind this story only Tonya Harding knows. But the film is engaging and promotes Tonya Harding to viewers that do not know her sad biography. My vote is eight.

    Title (Brazil): "Eu, Tonya" ("I, Tonya")
  • So, you have watched Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and thought that story was tough and Frances McDormand was terrific and nothing could ever be more tough and more terrific. Especially something with that hot blonde chick from The Wolf of Wall Street. Right? Wrong! So get ready for a big fat kick in the nuts, because sh!t has just got real.

    From the very beginning of the film you realize that it won't be pretty. An abusive ever-smoking and ever-cussing mother who would rather wipe the floor with her daughter than say a nice word to her. So destructive that even her rifle-shooting husband loses it and flees leaving a poor child completely unprotected. And when it turns from verbal abuse to the physical one, by her mother, by her boyfriend and later her husband, it's clear that it's not just not pretty - it's damn ugly, and that it's gonna get even uglier still.

    The trio of Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney does an unbelievable job of focusing a huge amount of anger, hate and frustration onto the single character, Tonya Harding, making almost every second of her screen time a pure pain to watch. You see her going through things you'd be waking in cold sweat from if you saw them in your dream. But, then again, for someone it was not a dream but an everyday routine. A vicious circle of abuse and humiliation, and the only way to forget it, even just for a minute, was through that ice rink, doing the only thing that would make you feel like something more than a pathetic loser with no single bright perspective ahead.

    And with that ugliness comes the true power of this film, of Robbie's performance, and of the real Tonya. The power that channels all the hate she received from all around into the thirst for skating, as if that ice rink is your arena where you fight for your life - or die trying. And when it's your life at stake, things are never chivalrous or graceful - so the way the Hollywood sex symbol dies and gives birth to a relentless competitive monster is a true miracle. And, just like a miracle of a real birth, it's full of pain for both the participant and for the ones witnessing it.

    What makes I, Tonya an even more shattering experience is that it's not just a made-up story, it's something that a living human being once went through. When you see her husband beat her and threaten her and even shoot a gun at her, you wish you could simply tell yourself that it's just cinema - but this time it's not quite so. When you see her mother come to her, pretending to be offering a helping hand when she's the most vulnerable - to end up being yet another vulture that came to feast on the prey that looks done but still keeps twitching - you wish you could say that no real child has come through such pain and betrayal, but you can't once again. You see a girl whose story was simply meant to be a tragedy from the very beginning - and you just wish it to be over. But she takes another hit, falls, yet for some reason refuses to stay on the floor.

    I guess I realize why this film missed the Best Picture Oscar, just like Margot Robbie missed the Best Leading Actress one. Just like the real world Tonya who outskates her rivals but fails to meet the expectations about her presentation, this film is technically the most riveting and intense story this year, with the leading performance being a big shiny diamond of a masterpiece, twice as precious because it wasn't an established Oscar winner who delivered it but a girl who till now was the most famous for doing a full frontal nude shot a few years ago.

    I'm not saying that the scores are rigged and that the competition was flabby. On the contrary, Three Billboards was a great film that I loved, and McDormand's performance is 100% Oscar worthy. The point is that I, Tonya is just not the image the Western cinematographic establishment is ready to associate women with yet - ugly and abused and blood-spitting. But, if in the figure skating world you could at least say that such are the house rules, and a pretty dress and a smile are something that matters at least as much as - if not more than - a triple axel, then the film industry community screaming "equal rights to women!" at every corner and not acknowledging the most glaring case of one woman, fighting for her right for her skills to be valued and for herself to be treated as a human being, and another woman, incarnating all that fight and suffering that comes with it on the screen, is pure hypocrisy. Inclusion rider or not.
  • Before I give my thoughts on 'I, Tonya', let me just say two words: Allison Janney. The Multiple Time Emmy-Winning Actress delivers one of the STRONGEST Performances of the year, in her portrayal of LaVona Fay Golden, Tonya Harding's Mother from hell. Janney is pure Oscar-GOLD.

    And now coming to the film...

    'I, Tonya' like any other sports Biopic, shows us a woman from being a bullied nobody to becoming a somebody in the world of sports. Over-here, we explore Tonya Harding's hardened journey, that is at times powerful & at times exhausting.

    'I, Tonya' Synopsis: Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie, in great form) rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband (Sebastian Stan, very good) intervenes.

    'I, Tonya' is about Tonya's violent journey, that started from an impossible, no-holds-barred mother to a violent, brutal husband, who eventually ruined her career. But, Tonya is not a victim of her circumstances. Here is a woman, who despite being thrown into a world of ice-skating & rigorous competition, left a strong mark. She may have not done the right things to get to the position she got, but she was a talented personality who had the power to mesmerize & inspire.

    Steven Rogers' Screenplay begins superbly & the personal interviews of its characters throughout the film, give it that extra edge. The first-hour is solid & gets into Tonya's world & the people involved with a wicked sense of humor. The second-hour is a little disappointing & overlong, and the sub-plot involving the 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan, Harding's rival and Olympic teammate, offers less impact. The Writing isn't always compelling & takes away some glory from the film, overall. The Dialogue, however, are crackling & foul to the core.

    Craig Gillespie's Direction captures all the madness & ambition, with skill. The Director is in good form this time around. Nicolas Karakatsanis's Cinematography & Tatiana S. Riegel's Editing are strongly done. Art & Costume Design, as well as Make-Up, deserve a special mention.

    Performance-Wise: Janney is outstanding & is sure to pick up many awards for her portrayal here. I wouldn't be surprised if she takes the Oscar home, next year! Margot Robbie, also is in very form, delivering a credible turn as Tonya. Sebastian Stan is entirely convincing as the violent husband. And Paul Walter Hauser is terrific as Shawn, one of Stan's friends, who leads Tonya & Stan, into much trouble.

    On the whole, 'I, Tonya' is an imperfect biopic about an imperfect woman. Do watch it though, especially for Janney's sterling performance.
  • sydbuyer13 February 2018
    This one keeps you well entertained for the whole 2 hours. Cleverly crafted with wonderful performances from all involved, definitely worth the watch.
  • This is an amazing black comedy/drama that sheds a very factual account of the tragic life of Tonya Harding. Margo Robbie deserves an Oscar for her perfect portrayal of Miss Harding and the life of abuse she encountered. Several Academy Awards will be won from this movie possibly best actress. Don't hesitate to spend $12.00 to see this piece or art!
  • I didn't expect much going into this film... I'm not into figure skating or docu style movies (as per trailer), but I have to say, this one blew me away!

    Margot Robbie and Allison Janney just nailed their roles! I'm sure this is Margot Robbie's best performance... she got right into her character. Craig Gillespie's outstanding directing contributes to the greatness of this film.

    There isn't anything bad to critique here. I highly recommend seeing this as I'm sure you'll be getting more out of it than you'd expect. A well deserved 8.5 rounded up to a 9/10 from me!
  • After seeing the preview I knew I would love this. Margot Robbie and Allison Janney were both impressive. I have to say, I was really surprised by Robbie! I checked out a few interviews with the real Tonya and her mother. Seems like Robbie and Janney really nailed them.
  • Lejink21 May 2018
    As much as I knew about the ice-skater Tonya Harding was her association with the Nancy Kerrigan incident at the Winter Olympics and her being the only American woman to, up to that point, successfully pull off a triple salkot in competition. I know that she was disgraced as a result of her at-a-distance connection to the Kerrigan assault but that she'd come back into the public eye, competing recently in the American version of "Strictly Come Dancing". So what an eye-opener this low-budget feature was.

    It unflinchingly shows her upbringing, from a broken home, natch by a mother who clearly put the "hard" into Harding. Chain-smoking, foul-mouthed and bullying, she's the ice skating equivalent of the infamous "show-biz moms" you read about, hitting her daughter with everything but a little maternal love, deluding herself that her cruelty to her only child is self-sacrifice on her part designed to toughen up her little girl for the big bad world that's out there. Her father, you get the impression might just have made a difference, but you couldn't really blame him for baling out on his no-redeeming-features wife.

    There's dark comedy in these early scenes as mommie dearest Lavona ignores every social convention to promote her tomboy daughter's one given talent, her ice-skating ability but its typical of Tonya's luck that the man who comes into her life romantically turns out to be a jealous, possessive guy who behind his geeky moustache and weedy appearance threatens her, hits her and even shoots at her anytime she tries to break away from him. Not that Tonya is any shrinking violet, she gives as good as she gets in their numerous arguments and drop-down fights but unfortunately he's back in play just as she's readying herself for a crack at the Olympics where her biggest rival will be clean-cut, all-American Nancy Kerrigan, whose stylishly cut, virginal white skating costume contrasts vividly with Harding's old-fashioned, frills and bows homemade outfit.

    The "incident" itself, a cockeyed plan by hubby and his meathead bodyguard chum, sees the latter beat Kerrigan on the leg after a training session, becomes international news as the Winter Olympics of 1992 come around pitching the rivals head-to-head with a recovered Kerrigan finishing a close-up second but a psyched-out Harding come in a lowly eighth and that after a controversial re-skate when she dramatically stops her first routine as her boot lace comes undone.

    This movie is the women's ice-skating equivalent of "Raging Bull", a warts and all portrayal of a kid from the wrong side of the tracks striving to make something of herself with everything seemingly stacked against her. Her greatest moment is shown not as winning Skate America or coming second in the World Championships but the first time she nails that near impossible jump on the ice. From there it's downhill all the way as we see her struggle with her notoriety in the aftermath of all the publicity post-conviction, trying to scratch a living, even trying pro-boxing for a spell.

    The performances by the three leads, Margot Robbie as Harding, Allison Janney as the mother from hell and Sebastian Stan as her unhinged husband are terrific. The direction style is a clever mix of eye-on-the-wall documentary realism including recreated to-camera interviews with the main participants and fourth-wall-breaking asides together with convincing depictions of the ice-skating sequences.

    It all makes for a deliberately awkward but compulsive insight into Stateside trailer-trash living and also how hard it is for those on the inside to break free from this rough and tumble upbringing and make something of themselves. In this biopic, Tonya Harding tried as hard as she could but was literally born to lose, the little victories and happiness she achieved along the way, scant recompense for a reputation tarnished forever by events outwith her control.
  • Do you want to be shocked? Here goes: "I, Tonya" is a great movie. That's right. A film about a tabloid scandal in the world of women's figure skating is not just a good movie, it's a great one. I cannot think of any other film that made me laugh out loud and cry so hard, and to do both at once, in reaction to the same scene.

    "I, Tonya" is as frightening and heartbreaking a depiction of child abuse as I have ever seen. It is as profound a meditation on class. Its depiction of "white trash, redneck, trailer trash" loves, lifestyles, dreams, delusions, smeared kitchens, underdone bedrooms, and dimly-lit living rooms ripped my heart right out of my chest. If you love movies and you care about social class in America, and how the 24/7 news cycle brainwashes gullible audiences and destroys lives, you owe it to yourself to see "I, Tonya."

    Allison Janney just won the Golden Globe for her portrayal of LaVona Fay "Sandy" Golden, Tonya Harding's mother. Janney's performance is one of the most powerful performances I have ever seen in any movie. When Janney is onscreen, you can't take your eyes off her. There is something very compelling about a mother who abuses her own daughter. You want to understand. You want to find the mechanism that runs this monster. You search for some sign of humanity, of redemption, of love. Though "I, Tonya," is sometimes a campy movie, Janney is never campy. She is a force of nature, like a scorpion or Bubonic plague. There is a scene in "I, Tonya," where Tonya's mother performs an act of betrayal of her daughter so severe that it took my breath away. This betrayal, the real Tonya Harding says, took place in real life. What a lousy "mother."

    There is a special hatred for white trash in America. This hatred has no easy name like "racism." We all know that racism is evil, but Americans are always eager to mock and denigrate working-class whites, especially poor white women. The 24/7 tabloid news cycle bashed Tonya Harding far harder, and for far longer, than Gillooly's goons bashed Nancy Kerrigan's knee.

    Tabloids told gullible audiences too lazy to think for themselves that Tonya Harding herself planned the attack. The legal record, and the film "I, Tonya," tell a different story. Teenaged Tonya married the first man she dated. He beat her, as did her mom. It was he, and his delusional friend Shawn Eckhardt, court records say, who orchestrated the attack on Kerrigan. Tonya learned of this after the attack and did not turn him in. She was punished for that. Though she had no means of earning a livelihood outside of skating, she was forced out of skating for life.

    In fact, the world of women's figure skating never much liked Tonya Harding. She was a superior athletic skater, but she wasn't pretty, patrician and ethereal as the judges preferred. Tonya Harding has been screwed over by many for a long time, and for all the wrong reasons. I'm glad she has this film to tell another side to her story.

    "I, Tonya" does not whitewash or glamorize her. She is shown fighting and breaking up with Gillooly, and then going back to this man she knows is bad for her. Tonya is foul-mouthed and she gets angry at judges who cheat her on scores. She sabotages her own training by drinking, smoking, and partying. Margot Robbie is terrific. She does almost all of her own skating, after months of training. The had to CGI the triple axel, because only Tonya Harding, and a handful of other women, could do that.

    "I, Tonya"'s depiction of Jeff Gillooly and his bizarre goons is both hysterically funny and dreadful. Sebastian Stan plays Gillooly. Though he is repeatedly shown beating Tonya, I never lost sympathy for him. I loathed him as a loser, but I could see his skewed humanity. He acknowledges, with regret, destroying his wife's exceptional skating career. The real Jeff Gillooly acknowledged the same thing, and also expressed regret.

    Shawn Eckhardt, who was happy to identify himself as the attack mastermind, may have been mentally ill. In an interview with Diane Sawyer, he claimed to be a terrorism expert. In fact, he was a loser who lived at home with his parents. He died young. Both Jeff Gillooly and Shawn Eckhardt changed their names after the attack. Gillooly, now Jeff Stone, has had repeated run-ins with the law. His second wife committed suicide.

    Tonya Harding has worked hard to keep her head above water. That, after all she'd been through, she did not become a criminal, is testimony to her inner strength. That so many people gave in to bread-and-circuses demonization of her, without knowing all the facts of the case, says nothing good about people's eagerness to hate, and the tabloid press' eagerness to profit from hate.
  • WubsTheFadger25 April 2018
    Short and Simple Review by WubsTheFadger

    I, Tonya tells the story of Tonya Harding as she grows up to become a professional figure skater and then falls into the depths of controversy. The story is interesting and very entertaining. The story does lose some steam in the middle but towards the end it picks back up. I wish they had gone into her sex tape controversy because it would have added to her story.

    The acting is very good. Margot Robbie performs very well as Tonya Harding. Sebastian Stan, Julianne Nicholson, Paul Walter Hauser (who is hilarious), and Bojana Novakovic (who is such a sweet lady) all perform very well. Allison Janney delivers the best performance throughout the entire film. Her brutality towards Tonya is so real its scary. She truly deserved the award for Best Actress.

    The pacing is a little slow and the runtime is overlong.

    Pros: Interesting and entertaining story, good acting, Margot Robbie's great performance, Allison Janney and her amazing performance, and a good ending

    Cons: The story losses steam in the middle, some slow pacing, and an overlong runtime

    Overall Rating; 7.3
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I, Tonya, is director Craig Gillespie's take on the mercurial rise and fall of Tonya Harding, the figure skating champion who threw away her career through her association with an abusive ex-husband. Gillespie tells Harding's story through a series of interviews with the principals, most made up to appear how they might look in the present time, speaking directly to the camera, and insisting that their version of events is the correct one.

    The real star of the film is not the actress who plays Tonya (Margot Robbie) but Allison Janney, who steals the show as Tonya's mother from hell, LaVona Golden, a serial psychological abuser, who still manages to garner sympathy through her abrasively witty comments directed toward Tonya throughout her childhood and into adulthood (as well as directed toward us, the enraptured audience). One can't help sense that LaVona heaped abuse on her daughter both out of love and jealousy-love in the sense that she wanted Tonya to be more successful in life than she was (LaVona being a waitress at a greasy spoon) and jealous once Tonya had achieved the fame and recognition that eluded her mother who was nonetheless a highly intelligent woman.

    If it wasn't for Janney, I, Tonya, might have been a complete flop, as Robbie, the Australian actress who plays Tonya, is all wrong for the part. This is especially true when Robbie plays Tonya as a teenager-she simply looks too old to be believable. What's worse is how Robbie is unable to convey Tonya's likable qualities-that odd mixture of naivety and "trailer trash" aggression that initially endeared the public to her. Instead, Robbie comes off as too harsh, compromising her attempts to convey Tonya's more vulnerable side. While Robbie is an accomplished skater (and this is probably the reason why she was cast), I think it was a big mistake for Gillespie to use her for that reason. Without a compelling protagonist, the necessary verisimilitude is lost.

    Gillespie's approach, akin to the Japanese classic, Rashomon, works best when Tonya's and husband Jeff Gillooly's differing points of view are contrasted in high relief. Gillooly denied that he ever physically assaulted Tonya but that seems highly unlikely as Tonya's description of what happened has the ring of truth. At a certain point, Tonya had enough of the abuse and decided to walk away from Gillooly-she even had to get a restraining order as he continued to stalk her (once putting a gun to her head, threatening to shoot her). But why did Tonya feel that she needed to go back to Gillooly after separating?-even though she claimed it was only a temporary arrangement. Despite being on the verge of complete success in the skating world, the old demons reared their ugly head-her crushing insecurities from her mother's put-downs and lack of a father figure-this led to her inevitable fall from grace.

    The bizarre plot to injure Tonya's rival, Nancy Kerrigan concocted by Gillooly's moronic pal, Sean Eckhardt, is so ludicrous that it's hard to believe that he actually thought he could pull something like this off undetected. I happen to believe both Gillooly and Harding's assertions that they were unaware that the plot was going to turn into a physical attack on Kerrigan. Gillooly insisted the initial plan was to send Kerrigan some threatening letters which might perhaps cause her to withdraw from the tournament or throw her off her game. It makes sense that Gillooly would confront Eckhardt over his lame-brain decision to have one of his confederates actually break Kerrigan's knee cap with a baton, suggesting that Gillooly had no idea what Eckhardt was ultimately up to.

    Much of what happens after the attack on Kerrigan, is anti-climactic. Gillespie basically presents a basic recap as to what happened as the story reaches its not so fitful conclusion. Of interest of course are the courtroom machinations, particularly Tonya's decision to take a plea bargain and accept a lifetime ban from figure skating. Benjamin Lee, writing in the Guardian, sums it up perfectly when he writes: "The zippy fun of the first half dissipates once we reach the overly familiar scenes of the second, the focus on the harebrained criminal scheme feeling particularly sub-Coenesque. It's hardly dull but it's not quite as biting and sharply realized as it could be given the wealth of stranger-than-fiction drama surrounding Harding."

    With a more convincing protagonist in the lead role, I, Tonya, might have been a tad bit more enjoyable; nonetheless, there's still Janney's performance to marvel at. And for all those who long for nostalgia, Tonya's story will bring you back to the heady days of the early 1990s, a time that feels way distant from our own.
  • First, I'm stating that it's the best film of the year, and I just barely care about women's figure skating. So you know that it's phenomenal. For me, it edges out "Dunkirk," which was my favorite 2017 film until the night I saw it.

    Director Craig Gillespie is obviously a Scorsese protégé, and unlike Martin McDonagh's cheap ripoff of the Cohen brothers, he manages to pay homage to the man without imitating him. Like Scorsese (and Bob Fosse) he meshes documentary with realistic drama seamlessly well.

    Margot Robbie and Sebastian Stan deliver good performances. Allison Janney and especially Paul Walter Hauser deliver OUTSTANDING performances. In fact, I didn't feel like Hauser was even acting as much as he was just BEING. These performances are also a credit to Gillespie.

    Almost every scene is well-paced, has little "fat," conveys meaning and adds to the narrative, which indicates great video editing. The editing was so good that I didn't even check the time, which is rare for me. Outstanding pacing.

    When I entered the theater, I didn't think that I was going to get even slightly emotional about Tonya Harding's story. But she is truly a sympathetic character without feeling sorry for herself, which is rare nowadays. Nowadays, everyone seems to be competing for who has it worst and who is the most pathetic victim. In Tonya's world, it's just her life, and it's presented as factual rather than maudlin and soap operatic. As Tonya basically says at the end of the film, "s--t happens. Deal with it."
  • TL;DR

    • Unique style makes it personal and stand out
    • Great soundtrack
    • Goodfellas vibe to the whole thing
    • Tracks a lot of Tonya's life but the focus narrows in on "the incident", improving structure
    • Phenomenal performances, particularly Margot Robbie and Allison Janney in particular


    You have to admit, I, Tonya came out at a pretty perfect time; with the Oscars just around the corner and the Winter Olympics in full swing, Margot Robbie's latest ticks both boxes with a film about ice skating worthy of its three Academy Award nominations. Bringing a sporting legend to life, I, Tonya is a well-made, strangely captivating film.

    The style chosen by director Craig Gillespie and writer Steven Rogers is a unique, interesting one and works very well. Starting from her childhood and tracking her life up until the present (more or less), it's absolutely a biopic, but it's given a dash of personality and realism by occasionally having the style of a documentary, with the actors recreating the real-life interviews and the editing cutting the talking-heads to fit in seamlessly with the rest of the film - the nomination for editing is well-deserved. Having the actors break the fourth wall and talk to the audience, both in the talking heads and fitting into the action, makes the story seem a lot more personal and works well, also fitting with Tonya's rebellious persona. In fact the constant personal narration (along with the fantastic soundtrack) gives off a strong Goodfellas vibe that works well.

    Most of the film is about the characters though, the latter half specifically being about how they react and handle the aftermath of "the incident". The cast are all wonderful, without a weak link. Even the comic relief in Paul Walter Hauser doesn't detract from the film's tone and is used in moderation to lighten things up. It's especially refreshing to see Sebastian Stan flex his acting talents more than we often see him in the Marvel films, with his Bucky character relegated to just brooding and not giving off much of a character. Here however he's given a chance to deliver a well-rounded, complex performance, playing a character we really shouldn't like, but Stan makes the pathetic and aggressive Jeff almost sympathetic. This complex performance extends especially to the Oscar nominated performances by Margot Robbie and Allison Janney. Robbie makes a wonderful lead, fully embracing the "bad-girl" persona of Tonya Harding, while still making her empathetic and likeable. With such a charismatic, intricate performance, it's not surprising she's been nominated. Janney in particular is one of the most interesting characters though, easily stealing every scene she's in and really making the part her own. It would be so easy for her character to be seen as an abusive villain, but instead she makes her more complex than that. Like with all the characters, Janney's excellent performance portrays her character as neither good nor bad, neither likeable nor unlikable. She's a flawed person and is perhaps the best thing in the film.

    I, Tonya is nothing if not refreshing; a uniquely styled biopic which breaks the fourth wall, is effortlessly entertaining and captivates audiences worldwide with flawless performances of very flawed characters. This one easily steals a gold medal.
  • Margot Robbie is a terrific actress - eminently watchable. But she is bit too mature and large for the role of Tonya Harding. When she and Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gilooly take over from the child actors they look ludicrously too old. But then the whole movie is done in an over the top parody style so I guess it's forgivable.

    The scenes of abuse from Jeff Gilooly and her mother are quite shocking. Alison Janney does a great job as the mother from hell. Sebastian is a bit too clean cut looking - white trash don't look like him. All the abuse she suffered invokes a lot of sympathy for her overcoming such grinding poverty and sacrificing so much to get where she did.

    Just as in real life the events of the attack are not that clear cut.

    Whatever it is the story is one of the most interesting scandals of the sports world and worth watching.
  • emirlukac8 January 2018
    I, Tonya is a movie about Tonya Harding, professional figure skater who became popular because of the rivarly with Nancy Kerrigan and incident that made her charged for. That situation made Tonya one of the most popular people in USA.

    This movie fulfiled my expectation in terms of biographical segment and learning about this case. Margot Robbie portrayal of Tonya is amazing and we can say this is the best performance so far for Margot. She showed different personalities of the main character from childhood to the final performance in the Olympics 1994. Tonya was so unique and she had specific relationships with two of her biggest support and in the same time stumbling stones in her career, her mother and husband. Another pleasant suprise is Allison Janey who just won Golden Globe and will be in the Oscar race. Allison plays Tonya Hardings mother LaVona woman with really strange and sometimes harsh behaviour towards her daghter but in some way she pushed her to be good as she was. Craig Gillespie is director of this movie and he decided to shoot this movie in a little bit cartoonish way but thats what makes this movie funny sometimes. My problem with this movie is that some scenes or should say some situations was repeated so many times in the similar way esspecially towars her relationship with husband Jeff played by Sebastian Stan. This movie is divided in two parts, first part refers to getting to know characters and second is about incident and resolving that case. Second part wants to show us how regular people can be stucked in complicated situation similiar to movie Fargo (1996) but this is where that cartoonish shots is the problem because we cant experience that incident and lawsuit seriously and all looks strange in the end but that is risk when you make a movie about famous person and cases of the past. This movie with all his advantages and disadvantages is decent maybe not what i expected to be but on the other side its not disappointment. Margot is the star of this movie and she is big reason why this movie is good and why we will remember Tonya Harding character and personality. I give this movie 7.7
  • I finally have watched this movie and I can say I am deeply disappointed. I, as a big fan of figure ice skating was really thrilled about this movie and expected much more. If you don't know much about Tonya Harding's story, I suggest you read about her and watch some of her old and new interviews and you'll understand why I didn't like the movie.

    One of the reasons is its screen script. There is no "official story" about what happened to Tonya Harding or Nancy Kerrigan. The script was written based on interviews with Tonya and her ex-husband, carried on by the screen writer himself. So, much of what is told in the movie is purely fictional, especially the parts about her mother, since she never agreed to talk to the screen writer or the production staff. Tonya herself said some parts of the movie were inaccurate, and Margot Robbie said that when she first read the script she thought it was about a fictional figure skater, not Tonya Harding.

    Besides, many things in this movie remain unexplained. The movie is basically about the verbal, physical and moral abuse Tonya endured throughout her life, but shows too little how Tonya built her athletic and ice skating career. And regarding the Nancy Kerrigan controversy, there isn't much talked about, either. Nancy is just a shadow in this movie, there's nothing about her point of view or how the incident actually affected her or her career. In the end you feel that you don't really know what the life of Tonya Harding the ice skater was really like.

    Regarding the direction, I found really tasteless Gillespie's attempt to give a comical tone in the NUMEROUS domestic violence scenes of the movie. The characters break the 4th wall to give the violent scenes a more 'casual' look (because according to Gillespie, Tonya talks about her violent past in a very casual manner), but cinematographically this 'casual tone' didn't work - it only makes it look like the movie romanticizes abuse and underestimates its impact on a woman's life. Also, the whole sarcastic/comical tone of the movie made it feel superficial, boring and childish. To me, a more serious approach to Tonya's life would be more appropriate.

    And regarding Margot Robbie's performance, I found it very disappointing and amateurish. Regardless the fact that she's not as bulky or athletic as the real Tonya, she played a white trash, foul-mouthed Tonya Harding that never existed. Her interpretation of a redneck is purely stereotypical. Also, I don't know where Robbie's accent came from, since real-life Tonya doesn't have that strong southern accent - she's from Portland, come on! It's an annoying accent that appears and disappears throughout the movie, alongside with the numerous bad words (some of them included by Robbie herself) and a very artificial, rude way to talk that Harding didn't have. Robbie didn't convince me and made me feel NOTHING for her character.

    On the other side, Allison Janney is BRILLIANT as Tonya's mother. She could flawless play a sociopath, and truly deserves at least an Oscar nomination as a supporting actress. Another good surprise in this movie is Paul Walter Hauser's acting.

    To sum it all up, this is a mediocre movie, that didn't entertain me (how am I supposed to find funny a story with so much domestic violence?), and didn't move me. It also barely tells who in fact Tonya Harding was. It is a superficial, bidimensional portrait of a woman who's surely much more complex than what was shown in the movie.
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