I, Tonya Film Review

Updated on January 30, 2018
Alec Zander profile image

Alec is a film critic with a true passion for the film industry & hopes his reviews and articles will help launch his career.

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.

© 2018 Alec Zander

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