I, Tonya review
In the world of sports, there's a level of concentration and motivation that most athletes reach in which they have to decide when far is too far. Like any job, there's always going to be individuals who will want to be the best (only to encounter someone whose probably better). How to proceed from there depends on the people asking themselves that. Do they try to be friendly? Or is there no room for friends and must remain competitive? If you think that everyone is going to play fair, then your wrong. The world is full of people that will stoop to such lows that you'll question their humanity. Life's not fair, plain and simple.
Going back to the sporting world, there are many horrible people that become famous anyhow. Whether people will know of their actions varies, but it seems that even the public is aware of the things that are done.
One such case considers the former ice skater, Tonya Harding. In the late eighties and early nineties, she was a promising athlete who would become a media sensation for what she did off the ice rink. Regardless of whose the bad guy, I, Tonya takes a look at the controversy and those with her.
As a young four year old, Tonya is encouraged by her tough and abusive mother LaVona (played by Allison Janney) to pursue her interest in ice skating. Though local coach Diane Rawlinson (played by Julianne Nicholson) doesn't want to teach someone that young, she is impressed and agrees to help. By the time she reaches sixteen, Tonya (played by Margot Robbie) has won several competitions and is seen as one of the best in America, but can't seem to win the national competitions due to her music choices, white trash background, and more rebellious attitude.
When her mother goes too far, she moves out with her boyfriend and later husband Jeff Gillooly (played by Sebastian Stan) and continues her skating. Her routine at the 1992 Olympics goes well, until she fails to stick her landing, blaming her blades. She's encouraged to try again for the 1994 Olympics. Things get scary when she receives a death threat. In retaliation, her husband, whose convinced that competing skater Nancy Carver (played by Catlin Carver) sent it, arranges for her to get hurt. Once the FBI make the connections, Tonya is constantly questioned whether she knew about the attack or not, while hoping to proceed with the Olympics.
Now doing a movie on Tonya Harding would seem difficult as someone with a controversial background is not a person that too many people are going to sympathize with. This is why I, Tonya does the smart thing, and sets the story like a character study. You certainly get a better understanding of her background and her personality, but it never takes a side. In fact, the movie almost seems like a troll, giving you the typical sports story for the first half, before going into the skater attack in the second half.
This all works together thanks to the cast, which was selected perfectly. Though the roster is filled with mostly unknowns, the main stars suited nicely. Sebastian Stan makes for a good airhead with potential fame going to his head. Allison Janney plays a bit of herself, but still pulls off Tonya's mother LaVona whose a monster, but at least a human monster. Of course, Margot Robbie is great as Tonya. While she too is an airhead, she shows that there's a difference between that and her passion for the ice. In a way, she is a tragic character, but your also not sure if you want to feel sorry for her.
I'll give this five 1994 Olympics posters out of five. The best kinds of biopics are the ones that focus on grey characters; those who do questionable things that you'll question for a while. I, Tonya does that and portrays the working American in a world of wealthier athletes. It may not be new, but her character makes your want to go through this trope. I'm glad I caught it in time for the award season. I recommend this, so get on the ice for your fair chance.