I, Tonya Movie Review

I, Tonya is an amazing movie that shows a different side of a disgraced figure skater, but of course, every movie has its flaws.


By Emily Hawkins, Staff Writer

I,  Tonya re-tells the tale of a corrupt Olympic figure skater that supposedly bashed in a competitor and colleague’s, Nancy Cariggan, knee.

But this film isn’t about rivalry or Harding’s role as a villain for the past 20 years. I, Tonya is set out to explain why unsophisticated and red-necked Harding, played by Margot Robbie, is treated as an underdog her whole career despite her enormous and incredible talent.  The movie strikes a cord of sympathy for the disgraced skater, unveiling the tragic and abusive life she endured leading up to her fame. Steven Rodger’s script shows emotional charity and great kindness for this mocked public figure, even though the story is told through a whirlwind of completely different narratives.

The filmmakers are upfront, with the use of title cards, about basing the film on interviews with the real-life Harding and her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly, and about the differing points of view on the events that the drama will later present.

I, Tonya is maniacal, moving quite quickly, up until the last 40 minutes when it starts to drag , despite its two-hour run time it feels significantly longer. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t ridiculously fun, with a contemptuous spirit that courses through the entire movie.

Yet, with all the extra time mentioned before, the movie shifts away from Harding’s true identity, tastes, and activities. Her work as a welder and a fork-lift operator is a tossed-off topic of dialogue and her interests are undefined, other than figure skating of course. Robbie’s portrayal of the character leaves relationships vague, and doesn’t go in depth her wider network of  friends and relatives and colleagues and rivals.

Robbie is clearly committed in this role that allows her to explore different aspects of a multifaceted character, and is honestly quite perfect at it. Although, she also doesn’t quite fulfill expectations in terms of convincing the audience how young and vulnerable Harding was when all this whole scandal went down. But these are very small hiccups in an otherwise satisfying performance.