film reel image

film reel image

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

I, Tonya 2017 * * * 1/2 Stars

I, TonyaDirector: Craig Gillespie
Year: 2017
Rated R
Rating: * * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney

I, Tonya is my latest write-up. It's a biographical pic following the skating career of one Tonya Harding and her subsequent involvement in the Nancy Kerrigan baton assault. In "Tonya", Harding is painted as sympathetic and misread. She gets beaten, put down, and inhabits an unsafe, toxic existence.

About four days ago, I prematurely put out my top ten movie picks for 2017. After seeing I, Tonya with its ice skating sequences shot so fervently, I think I'm gonna have to make a swift revision.

I, Tonya may feel like a bullet point presentation of Harding's 20-year figure skating career from age 4 to age 24. And yeah, I'm not a huge fan of inserted interviews (of the present day personas) that reek of cliche. However, because Tonya Harding was such a polarizing figure and because I remember a lot of the news coverage from 1994, I feel that director Craig Gillespie makes the proceedings a little more special anyway.

"Tonya" is feverishly paced, with pinpoint storytelling, deadpan performances, a biting 70's soundtrack, and some nifty match edits (towards the flick's conclusion). It's equal parts satiric, upsetting, funny, and in a way, heartbreaking.

Image result for I, Tonya movie scenesI, Tonya's wiki page claims that it's a black comedy. I'm not sure on that one. I'd rather call it a comedy-drama that makes you wriggle. "Tonya" contains filthy, ferocious dialogue, a measure of sucker punch barrage, and an unabashed, wink wink to the audience (a lot of the actors talk right into the camera during regular scenes).

Come Academy Awards time, I'm hoping that Margot Robbie (as Harding) and Allison Janney (as Harding's nasty mom LaVona) get nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress respectively. Robbie may not look like Tonya Harding but her transformation and raw containment still comes to fruition. As for Janney, well she gives LaVona Harding a standoffish parka and some vile, spit-fire discourse to accompany her character.

Image result for I, Tonya movie scenesIn conclusion, I, Tonya projects like it's touched by the cast of Duck Dynasty or the nincompoops that inhabit the The Jerry Springer Show. Its white trash residue and its sledgehammering of squeamish behavior surprisingly make it a near-perfect film. Rating: 3 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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