Review: I, Tonya
How do I get a fair score?
This is the biography of US figure Skater Tonya Harding. (Margot Robbie) While breaking the 4th wall, we see her live with her abusive mother, LaVona (Allison Janney) and move on to her abusive ex-husband, Jeff. (Sebastian Stan) All while trying to advance in the skating world when she doesn't necessarily fit in.
I, Tonya has perfect pacing. We start with Tonya at age four and move on until she's in her 20's, with all the buzzy parts of her live captured with ample time. We instantly get attached to her as the underdog. It's almost shot documentary style with the characters constantly narrating. At times, they turn towards us right in the middle of the story to address us. It's a risky gimmick but it pays off well.
Margot Robbie is absolutely amazing in this role. The gravity she brings to it is exceptional. Sebastian Stan also gives one of the best performances I've seen from him. He's an actor that's been growing on me. Allison Janney is also excellent in her role, but it's not nearly the stretch I was expecting after she's been winning all these awards. She barely needed to lift a finger to turn out this performance.
If I have one problem with I, Tonya - it's the way they're treating their real life subject. While Tonya was a victim of abuse, she also took part in harming someone she called a friend. This film not only plays her abuse for laughs at times, but actually puts the blame on the entire audience as her abusers. I'm sure that was meant to be a powerful statement but I saw it as glorifying her. It's as if they've absolved her of everything. I just found it a bit patronizing.
While that's harsh, it's not enough to distract from the excellent film making here. It's great all around.
Memorable Quote: "Fucking Mustache..." - LaVona (Allison Janney)