There are movies that catch you off guard and impress their mark on you. I, Tonya is definitely one of those movies as I found myself totally enamored with its presentation.
Of course, I knew of the Tonya Harding scandal. However with this excellent script, I learned things I never even heard a thing about. The script is based on Harding’s career. And in doing so, I saw Harding in a whole new light.
I don’t know one way or the other - even after this movie - how involved she was in taking out her Olympic rival. But the life she grew up in, not to be envied, and how she was an average person, seemingly conspired against by life as she strived to make it on the world stage, is something I found relatable. We are that person. We know someone like Harding. In that respect, she is one of us. Faults and all.
I don’t say that to excuse what she did. I’m saying, it is easy to identify with her situation. It isn’t sympathy as much as empathy. It isn’t win at any cost as much as we hope you pull yourself out of the muck to survive. The fact that a waitress, from an abusive home and relationship, without an education, overweight and a heavy smoker/drinker, could make it to the Olympics is a win for all the little people out there. I don’t care how you slice it.
The acting in this movie is excellent! I think this is the movie that made me a Margot Robbie fan. Allison Janney won an Oscar for her supporting role as Harding’s mother.
One other thing that is unusual here. The skating sequences. The way they are shot is groundbreaking. You know how in boxing movies they always say the fight looks ‘realistic’? Same can be said here. Clearly, a double was used but the skating was shot in full sequence. There was no breaking away. No cuts to original footage. No special effects. You come away thinking you just watched Robbie skate Harding’s routine.
I also liked the soundtrack. Old originals and covers of 70’s and 80’s and 90’s tunes but at times they almost steal the show. They fit right in and compliment the action on the screen.
I realize everyone may have seen this last year. But this movie is well worth the rental fee. Definitely, check this out. 5 of 5 on my rating scale.