From the first scene, you can feel you’re in for something special with ‘I, Tonya’. The amazing visuals, combined with great performances, a killer soundtrack, and a great script makes the film an experience you can’t miss on the big screen.
Centering around the life of infamous ice-skater Tonya Harding and everything leading up to that famous incident with Nancy Kerrigan at the Winter Olympics of 1994. It’s better not to spoil the rest, especially if you’re unaware of the real story.
Craig Gillespie, better known for previously directing ‘Lars and the Real Girls’ and last year’s ‘The Finest Hours’ directs the hell out of this movie, bringing the humor that made ‘Lars’ so enchanting and the incredible visuals that dazzled on the latter. Perhaps the most impressive sequences in ‘I, Tonya’ are the ice-skating bits. Gillespie’s directing and cinematography makes you feel like you’re right in the action, and combine that with Robbie’s jaw-dropping performance (more on that later) and it truly creates remarkable scenes.
The screenplay, written by Steven Rogers, is one of the best of the year. Blending hilarious black humor with strong drama proves to be an extremely effective approach to this story. Also something not to be dismissed, is that he manages make such a controversial figure like Harding a sympathetic hero, which has to be quite the challenge. The way the film is presented, in which interviews are heavily involved, proves to be very interesting and engrossing, and adds a lot to the film.
But even with everything above, the movie would make-or-break with the actress chosen to bring Tonya to life. At first, Margot Robbie, from Harley Quinn fame, would not seem like a very fitting choice, especially given that she hasn’t shown a lot of range before. And I’m so happy to say, that she proved me wrong. Robbie not only excels, she wows, proving to be one of the finest actresses working today. This is probably the greatest performance I’ve seen this year yet, and it would be appalling if she gets overlooked at the Oscars.
Not falling behind either are Allison Janney and Sebastian Stan, as Tonya Harding’s mother and ex-husband respectively. Just as Robbie, they both pull-off their best performance of their careers. Given such complex characters to portray must’ve been a big challenge, but they manage to rise above that and leave a great impression. Allison Janney has already been garnering several recognitions for her role, deservedly so, but I would also love Sebastian Stan to get in there too.
I recently read a critic claim “I, Tonya’ was ‘The Goodfellas of ice-skating”, a statement which I couldn’t agree more with. Yes, it’s that good.