The Best and Worst of Margot Robbie
With beauty, brains, and talent, Margot Robbie is the full package. She was born in Australia and got her start in the Australian soap opera Neighbors. After landing a few small roles, she finally hit fame in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street. But is Margot's career as perfect as her teeth? In this article I will list her five best and five worst films and as always will include a complete rated filmography at the bottom.
Best #1: I, Tonya
In today's world, there's hardly anything that's not controversial. But in 1994, something happened that shook the figure skating world, something that's still talked about today. There's been many theories questioning the story, but regardless of what you believe happened, the truth is here in the fantastic and heartbreaking film I, Tonya.
The film follows the life of Tonya Harding from when she was a young child through the time after the 1994 Olympics. She was severely abused by both her mother and her on-and-off boyfriend/husband Jeff Gillooly. Despite her hindrances in life, she still aspired to be the best figure skater in the world. No matter how well she did or how hard she tried, she still faced obstacle after obstacle, the world seemingly against her when all she wanted was to feel loved.
Allison Janney and Margot Robbie both gave extraordinary performances. Allison made you really hate Levona, Tonya's verbally and physically abusive mother, while Margot made you feel sorry about Tonya. What she went through definitely was heartbreaking. It's something no one should ever have to go through but is sadly prevalent in many people's lives. In one scene, Tonya says: "Nancy gets hit once and the whole world shits, but getting hit was an everyday occurrence for me." Tonya often blamed herself or thought she deserved her abuse, which only made the ultimate outcome even more saddening. Margot and Allison did their jobs very well and certainly earned their Oscar nominations. Just a side note, Margot actually did all the skating stunts. She trained for 5 months in order to do this film and the effort she put in definitely showed.
Director Craig Gillespie has done drama before but never anything as in-depth as this was. He certainly reached a whole new level of skill and I hope to see him continue reaching higher. What is a true shame is that Gillespie was not nominated for the directing Oscar, which is a major snub.
In conclusion, I was impressed with the film. I, Tonya made me laugh, made me cry, and made me wish Tonya had been given a better life. She had such a great talent, but being raised in an abusive home and having an abusive husband set her on a path that was almost impossible to overcome. Would she have been the world's best figure skater had she been raised in a good household? Who knows. She may have become the world's greatest history teacher. Either way, she was always meant for greatness, it's just a shame that greatness was stolen from her. I give the film a perfect 4 out of 4.
Best #2: The Wolf of Wall Street
Based on a true story, the film follows Jordan Belfort as he becomes a wealthy stockbroker and how he became involved in crime and corruption, which eventually led to his downfall. Leonardo DiCaprio was brilliant as always. He always has this intensity about him that he's able to project onto the screen. Margot Robbie's acting was brilliant, especially considering this was her first major role. She dominated her role and had great chemistry with Leo. I sincerely hope they work together again in the future.
As for the film itself, it told a story that sadly a lot of people on Wall Street have succumbed to. They get rich quick, they get high-minded and feel like they're on top of the world, and pretty soon they get the idea that they're untouchable. They start dabbling in criminal activities and doing drugs and buying up everything they see. It's a regular trifecta that has brought many men to their knees, Jordan being one of them.
The film was brilliantly written and directed, which is something I've come to expect from Martin Scorsese and Leo DiCaprio. Those two are like Gold Medalists, everyone strives to be them but only a few even come close. I give the film a 4 out of 4.
Best #3: About Time
About Time is not only a romantic and comedic film, but it's true to the spirit and heart. It captures the things we think and/or do, and also what we often wish we could change, then goes one step further and gives us a meaning and understanding that most films don't give. It helps us appreciate our lives, whether we can change it or not, and helps to show that some mistakes are good things in the long run. Some mistakes can lead to even greater things. That's what Tim discovers in this film, and it's something we all should discover for ourselves.
In About Time, Tim is told on his 21st birthday that the men in his family have always had the unique ability to travel back in time within their own lives and relive certain moments or even fix the mistakes that most never could. Tim thinks he's found the love of his life in the lovely Charlotte, and tries his best to use his time travel gift to win her over. But some things are not meant to be because one day you may meet your Mary, a beautiful and intelligent woman with a sharp wit. The events that follow are both comedic and dramatic, just as life is. The film will make you smile and it will break your heart, but it will also leave a beautiful message with you that you'll carry for years to come. I give the film a 4 out of 4.
Best #4: Terminal
Terminal is a remarkable piece of filmmaking that requires both your mind and your careful sight. Every scene is just a piece of a larger puzzle that is unfolded out of order. I have seen many people bash it, but I think those people simply don't understand it. Although all is explained in the end, it still seems people were quicker to hate than opening their mind and letting the madness seep inside.
The film follows the stories of several different people, all with dark pasts, all linking back to Margot Robbie's character Annie.
Margot Robbie has developed quite the talent over the years. Her wide-eyes and wide smile almost compliment the madness that must be flipping around in her mind. I am completely convinced that she has a depth that hasn't even been reached yet but her performance in this film at least scratches the surface of her psyche.
I've always believed that it takes mental to understand mental, and this film most certainly is just that. It almost takes the route Cloud Atlas took in the sense that the puzzle is assembled out of order and requires the audience to actually put some thought into it. Perhaps that's why it didn't go over well with some viewers. Maybe it was too much thinking for the common audience. Maybe it was too crazy. Either way, this film was top-shelf for me. I give it a 4 out of 4.
Best #5: Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
I love it when films take unexpected approaches and pull off what they were aiming for perfectly. We see so often films that try new techniques but can't really keep their footing and end up falling, never to rise again. Birds of Prey, however, wasn't afraid to think outside the box, its style shaking up the DCEU in all the best ways. In fact, I'd venture to say that this film is the best DCEU entry since Wonder Woman.
Birds of Prey (advertised as Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) follows a few different storylines before finally merging into one. First, we have our narrator Harley Quinn who has recently broken up with the Joker. She's feeling a bit down and has had some self-destructive tendencies. It's not until she's captured by Roman Sionis aka Black Mask that she snaps out of her depression and decides to take her life by the reins. Roman gives her a deal: capture Cassandra Cain and retrieve a priceless diamond for him and in return he'll place her under his protection. Second, we have Helena Bertinelli aka Huntress who is seeking revenge against Victor Zsasz for killing her family over the priceless diamond Roman Sionis is looking for. Third, Dinah Lance aka Black Canary is a secret informant to Detective Renee Montoya. Dinah is trying to find Cassandra in order to protect her while Renee is trying to capture Harley, find Cassandra, and build a case against Roman all at once. But with Harley in the center of it all, there's no predicting what will happen and that makes the experience all the more fun.
The main thing that I loved about the film was how it was organized. The film is like a two-hour dive into Harley's mind so of course things are a bit scattered in there. Some people might complain about the non-linear storytelling but I personally loved that approach. Harley's mind isn't linear so why would her storytelling be any different? And of course the brilliant moment when Harley is hit so hard that she hears a musical number just added to the wild and humorous nature of the film.
The film's R-rating was able to give the dark humor and no-holds barred action justice. The stunts were outstanding, especially the police station break-in and the final showdown. There's some moments of absolute insanity that certainly wouldn't happen in reality, but Harley doesn't live in reality, does she?
I also loved two new additions to the film universe that we've only seen in the comics and games: Bruce the Hyena and Harley's Confetti Gun. You're probably wondering why I'm so excited about those two things. Come on, if you don't absolutely fall in love with Harley sharing a Twizzler with a hyena Lady and the Tramp-style then something's wrong. Also, the Confetti Gun is a fun little move in the Injustice 2 game so seeing that on the big screen made me giddy.
The only acting I can really brag on is Margot Robbie's return as Harley Quinn. Rosie Perez and Jurnee Smollett-Bell were fine but they weren't showstoppers by any means and there was barely any screentime for Mary Elizabeth Winstead but she had a nice setup for the future. I did like Chris Messina as Zsasz. That was some perfect casting right there although I wish we had been able to see more of his dark side instead of him just being Roman's lackey.
The only real issue I had with the film was Ewan McGregor's Black Mask. I both liked and disliked him. In the comics, Black Mask was known to have anger issues and acted on spontaneity. Those two aspects were performed wonderfully. The problem with him was that he didn't act like a crime boss. He acted more like a psychotic, vengeful interior designer with a real people problem. Black Mask is supposed to strike fear into people just by looking at them. Ewan just sicked Zsasz on them. So, yes, I was a little disappointed by that.
In conclusion, if you look past Black Mask and focus on Harley and how much fun Margot Robbie is clearly having, you'll have a good time. Sit back and relax and let the crazy in for a couple hours. I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.
And now we come to the dreaded section that absolutely no one likes to read. We want to read it, though, because we want to know what films are worth the time and what films aren't. So, let's trudge forward into the Worst section and hope we all make it out alive.
Worst #1: I.C.U.
This could have been the most spectacular horror film. Could have. Was it, though? No, not even close. I.C.U. was almost the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. It screeched by slowly and took your will to keep listening away. It "borrowed" from Rear Window heavily and instead of making a great homage film, they turned it into a horribly edited, horribly acted, and horribly directed film. On top of that, there were three or four plot twists in the last ten minutes. The only performance worth mentioning is Margot's. You could tell she was trying her best in a film that needed a lot of work and a lot more work after that. In fact, the only reason this film isn't getting a Death By Exile rating is because of Margot Robbie. I instead give the film a 0.5 out of 4.
Worst #2: Vigilante
Vigilante is a film that shows you the ugliness of crime and tries to make good points both for and against vigilantism. Where it ultimately fails is the acting. Absolutely no one is convincing. While it has a good story, it still needed some work. I liked the pros and cons that it gave and I liked the message it was trying to send. Since it has elements I both liked and disliked, I give the film a 2 out of 4.
Worst #3: Slaughterhouse Rulez
Slaughterhouse Rulez is a comedic horror film, telling the story of a British boarding school (aptly named Slaughterhouse) which has fallen victim to a crew of frackers. The fracking causes a sinkhole, which awakens a bunch of creatures who are very hungry. The students must band together to kill the creatures.
What we have here is a classic cheesy horror that can't really find its footing. It seemed like it was trying to be like Slither but instead came off like Animal House meets Tremors.
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost were the best things about the film. They always have that ability to find humor in any situation and bring it to the screen, whether they're in a comedy or a drama. Margot Robbie played Simon's girlfriend Audrey, who was in the Sudan helping sick kids and probably most likely boning her doctor partner. We only see her when the two are Skype-ing but she did have a fairly important role, considering she affected Simon's actions throughout the film.
Slaughterhouse Rulez was basic and average, neither good nor bad, so if you are bored and need to pass the time, feel free to try it out, but I wouldn't put it on your priority list. I give it a 2 out of 4.
Worst #4: Z for Zachariah
Z for Zachariah is set in a dystopian future and tells the story of a young woman who has been on her own for quite a while. A man in full radiation gear comes to her area and, upon discovering the air is clean, decides he wants to stay. She offers him food and shelter and pretty soon the two become close. All that is threatened though when another stranger wanders into town. The two men vie for her affection, each one hoping she'll choose him.
While the film has a good story, it falls short. There's no resolution and no reason given as to why the world is apparently contaminated with radiation and also no reason as to why this particular area is the only place with clean air. There's too much untold information. Maybe if the film had been about 20 minutes longer, we could have gotten the answers we needed. I give the film a 2 out of 4.
Worst #5: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a film that can't quite decide what it is. Is it a comedy, a drama, a dramedy, a romcom? No one knows! The film follows a journalist who is sent to Afghanistan for some international journalism. She meets all kinds of people there, both good and bad. The film brings to light some interesting information and opens your eyes to how life is in Afghanistan. What the film doesn't do, however, is keep the story and its characters cohesive. Top marks for the actors, especially Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, and Martin Freeman. All three showed incredible range and talent. If only the film could pick which tone it wanted to be, then the film might have been even better. I give Whiskey Tango Foxtrot a 2.5 out of 4.
- Vigilante - 2 out of 4
- I.C.U. - 0.5 out of 4
- The Wolf of Wall Street - 4 out of 4
- About Time - 4 out of 4
- Suite Francaise - 3 out of 4
- Z for Zachariah - 2 out of 4
- Focus - 3 out of 4
- Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - 2.5 out of 4
- The Legend of Tarzan - 3 out of 4
- Suicide Squad - 3.5 out of 4
- I, Tonya - 4 out of 4
- Goodbye Christopher Robin - 3 out of 4
- Peter Rabbit - 3 out of 4
- Terminal - 4 out of 4
- Slaughterhouse Rulez - 2 out of 4
- Mary Queen of Scots - 3 out of 4
- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - 4 out of 4
- Bombshell - 3.5 out of 4
- Birds of Prey - 3.5 out of 4
What's Your Favorite Margot Robbie Film?
Margot's talent is is unquestionably fantastic and, in the right hands, she can do great things. But every actor and actress has their downs. While Margot certainly had hers, she has made far more good films than bad, and I find that encouraging for her future in the entertainment business.
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Nathan Jasper