Review: I, Tonya

Director: Craig Gillespie

Writer: Steven Rogers

Starring: Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Sebastian Stan and Paul Walter Hauser

Release Date: 23rd February

I, Tonya is the biopic of Tonya Harding, an American figure skater who shot to fame in 1991 after becoming the first American to complete the notoriously difficult triple axel. Despite her skills on the ice, it was her soap opera-like life offscreen that made her a household name and makes for the perfect drama.

Margot Robbie does an excellent job of making the audience fall in love with Tonya.

Margot Robbie does an excellent job of making the audience fall in love with Tonya. While she initially comes across as tough, we later see a more vulnerable side to her character. Brought up by a single mother who is excellently portrayed by Allison Janney, Tonya is shown little to no affection. From the minute Tonya begins to skate, her mother is there to push her to her absolute limits, resulting in an extremely tense and hostile relationship.

It isn’t until Tonya meets her husband-to-be that she seems happy. However, their relationship isn’t as healthy as it initially appears to be. Despite Tonya’s tumultuous relationship with both her mother and her husband, skating remains her priority. The only thing in the way of her Olympic dreams is fellow American teammate and rival Nancy Kerrigan.

Tonya is the underdog you can’t help but root for.

Tonya is the underdog you can’t help but root for. She is the opposite of everything we expect from a figure skater. She’s brash, bold, and aggressive, a product of the turbulent environment around her, but when she steps out on the ice she’s at home, the epitome of elegance and class. With every jump, you can’t help but hold your breath and hope she sticks the landing.

Although Tonya’s story is dark and gripping you will find yourself laughing throughout this twisted comedy. A lot of those comedic elements come from Janney’s performance, whose blunt and unpleasant nature is so outrageous, it’s hilarious. Motherly is not a word that comes to mind. This transformative role can, however, be described as award-winning, with Janney taking home a SAG award for her role as well as a Golden Globe for best-supporting actress in a motion picture.

Those familiar with Harding’s story will be aware of the controversy that surrounded her when rival Kerrigan was attacked and left unable to perform in the National Championships. This film shines a light on how it all affected Harding and what her involvement in it really was. The use of cutaway ‘interview’ scenes allows the audience to feel closer to Tonya, especially when the fourth wall is broken.

In a nutshell: A strangely hilarious depiction of Harding’s turbulent life, delivered by a stellar cast.