review by Bobby Blakey
I have been a fan of Margot Robbie since her great performance in The Wolf of Wall Street and she has showcased some great performances since then. Her latest film I, Tonya thrusts her into the famed ice skating controversy and features a great supporting cast including Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Julianne Nicholson, Paul Walter Hauser, and Bobby Cannavale, but is she able to capture the essence of this crazy story or will it miss the landing all together?
I, Tonya follows competitive ice skater Tonya Harding who 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 intervenes. The trailer for this movie looked so great so I already had high expectations for this film and thankfully it lived up to them and more. The structure of this film is perfect offering up a story that is taken from the perspectives of both Harding and her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly. This allows them to keep the story moving in a creative way without trying to pick a side and making stuff up that may or may not have happened. The breaking of the fourth wall helps to push them forward while stating which things really did or did not happen. Thankfully the story doesn’t just follow the famed knee bashing incident, but instead Harding’s full career from child to the end and the trials and drama that she went through to get there.
The cast all do a great job with Margot Robbie leading the charge and knocking it out of the park. She is all in with the part and makes you believe that you are dealing with Harding and her issues. She brings the pain, humor and emotional struggle to the role that is needed to make it work. Stan is great as well offering up an awkward, sniveling and often violent guy that you can’t help but not like. The most hated character in the movie will no doubt be of Harding’s mom played brilliantly by Alison Janney. I love her in everything she does, but she took it to the next level with this role and I loved hating her. Easily my favorite to watch though had to Paul Walter Hauser as Harding’s dimwitted bodyguard. Every time he is on screen I could not stop laughing from his strange behavior, the nonstop eating and the overall clearly lack of intelligence.
I loved this entire movie as it balances well between the drama and comedy without minimizing anything. There are some horrible moments in her life that are depicted here that could have been played for laughs and gone horribly wrong, but thankfully they managed to make it work. When it is funny it is often subtle and other times laugh out loud, but the drama is pretty impactful and can pull at your heartstrings. I love this film and am glad that it got the recognition it deserved.
This release not only includes the film but also bonus content including deleted scenes, trailers, commentary, and featurettes taking you behind bringing this story to life. Strap on your skates and step onto the ice and grab your copy of I, Tonya when it hits digital HD on March 2nd and then on Blu-ray and DVD on March 13th from Universal Home Entertainment.