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Tabloid Times
G G Gwalles7 December 2017
I was going to make a list of people who made extraordinary things during the same period that Tonya Harding monopolized the headlines but then I thought it was a pointless exercise. Charles Manson will always be more famous, much more than Sharon Tate. That's the world we live in or maybe it always was. The sadness verging on horror of of the Tonya Harding story will win, fascination wise, than any kind of kindness from anyone anywhere. Now that out of my system let me say that I Tonya is an entertaining harrowing tale directed by Craig Gillespie and his extraordinary cinematographer Nicholas Karakatsanis with, clearly, Martin Scorsese in their minds and hearts. Margot Robbie is terrific and Sebastian Stan as the husband from hell, superb but it's Allison Janney that creates a character that is impossible to take and irresistible at the same time. She is spectacular. So, that's more than enough to recommend I Tonya but if the Tabloid Times is something you subscribe I will highly recommend Gus Van Sant's To Die For and Michael Ritchie's made for television The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom.
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The acting and direction were pretty amazing....
MartinHafer19 October 2017
Tonight I went to the opening night film at the Philadelphia Film Festival and it turned out to be "I, Tonya". I wasn't particularly thrilled about this, as I really didn't care much about seeing a biopic about Tonya Harding. In hindsight, I am glad I saw it as the film was exceptionally well directed and the acting was occasionally brilliant. In particular, Australian actress Margot Robbie was simply amazing as Harding—turning in the sort of performance that could mean an Oscar nomination. Likewise, Allison Janney was amazing as well…playing Tonya's incredibly despicable mother. You really have to respect the great job both of them did in the film…as well as Robbie's learning to skate well in order to make this movie.

The film is about the life of Tonya Harding….yes, THAT Tonya Harding…the one who gained infamy for her part in the attack on rival ice skater Nancy Kerrigan back in 1994. My daughter was only a small child at the time of the attack and I told her nothing about Harding because I wanted to see her perspective on the story. Both of us left very impressed. However, I must put in a warning about the film. It is very violent….filled with intense and very realistic domestic violence…among the most realistic I have ever seen. With my background as a psychotherapist, this churned up a lot of memories for me and the film often had me in tears. If you have been a victim of domestic violence, then I strongly urge you to think twice before you see the picture…or at least see it with someone you love. Seeing Tonya being slugged, slapped and even shot was tough to watch. Interestingly, often the audience responded by laughing…an inappropriate but thoroughly understandable coping mechanism for such ugliness.

Does the film excuse Harding's behaviors or paint her out to be a victim? Not really…and if it had, the film would have been a waste of time. What it does do is help you at least understand who she was and why she did what she did…as she was more than just an intense competitor who didn't come forward when she learned her husband and his friend had physically assaulted Tonya's competitor, Nancy Kerrigan. Overall, a fascinating look back to one of the most celebrated news stories of the 1990s….one that folks who are old fogies, like me, well remember!
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I, Tonya (2017)
rockman1827 December 2017
I think this film may have had the best trailer of 2017. I saw it and knew instantly how badly I wanted to see it. I've never been a fan of Margot Robbie and her previous acting efforts but this looked like her awakening and where she would be proving me wrong. I believe it, she's quite sensational in this film. Her dedication to her role shows but really everyone involved has done very well. Craig Gillespie has his first real winner with I, Tonya.

I, Tonya is a biographical picture about famed and disgraced figure skater, Tonya Harding. Tonya was pushed onto the rink by her abusive mother at a very young age and despite the abuse becomes a very talented ice skater. The cycle of abuse continues with her abusive husband but she tries to bear through and succeed. Everyone seems to be against her but her talent is hard to deny. The film also goes into the famed attack on fellow ice skater Nancy Kerrigan and the aftermath of the incident.

The film is sort of told from a mockumentary perspective as if key characters are being interviewed. The film also utilizes breaking the fourth wall where characters in a scene would talk to the audience. I thought this was interesting and separates itself from being a standard biopic and gives this film a real comedic depth. The soundtrack is catchy and literally every performance in this film makes for a very engaging time. I didn't even recognize the chameleon Bobby Cannavale until the credits rolled.

Some wonder why the film was made but it kind of helps you identify with Tonya. She suffered physical and psychological abuse from both her foul mouthed mother and her rage filled husband. Her hands may not be completely clean in what happens to Nancy Kerrigan, but she is also just a victim of circumstances. Vastly talented, but just short of reaching her pinnacle due to outside factors and her image and attitude. The film isn't perfect but its vastly entertaining and could be giving Margot Robbie and Allison Janney Oscar nominations. I'm going to let this sink in and I'm sure its going to be something I go back to.

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A triple axel of a skating movie
Art Snob18 September 2017
If I could have voted online for the best movie that I saw at TIFF 2017 (the voting was limited to iPhone and Android users), it would have been for this film, which wound up second in the People's Choice award competition. Director Craig Gillespie has tackled a difficult subject brilliantly without removing the considerable number of warts from the main characters. This film should garner a considerable number of Oscar nominations, including best picture and director.

Margot Robbie should be a lock for a Best Actress nod, completely burying her Australian background to deliver American white trash with complete credibility. (She won't win of course, because ... Tonya.) Her skating sequences are edited brilliantly - you really believe that it's her.

THE surest Oscar bet has to be Allison Janney as Tonya's acerbic, domineering, Swisher-chain-smoking mother LaVona Golden. She gives what I call a "schizophrenia" performance - there's no way that anyone seeing JUNO and this film back-to-back would ever notice that the mothers in both films are played by the same actress. Robbie got the loudest applause when the actors were introduced before the film, but when they came out afterwards, Janney's applause was equivalent to hers.

The story sticks to facts and places most of the blame for the Kerrigan incident on Sean Eckhardt, played with spot-on obnoxiousness by Paul Walter Hauser. The rest goes to hubby-at-times Jeff Gillooly, played by Sebastian Stan. He handles the husband-to-a-celebrity role with a charm not seen since Eric Roberts in STAR 80.

The subject matter may cost the film at awards time, but it's still an excellent movie that you should definitely check out if you have any interest at all in the story.
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More than about tabloid trash, this movie should be watched
jehosaphet-5880328 December 2017
Anyone who was old enough to be sucked in by the media circus that this scandal turned into should make it a point to take a look at this film, in my opinion.

The media seemed much more about the sensationalism of it all than it was about maintaining the kind of objective balance that'd presume Tonya's innocence until evidence proved otherwise. But being honest, even if evidence came along that absolved Harding of any wrongdoing in the Kerrigan attack, how happy would the media have been to report it? Or would we have been to hear it? Because we've got to admit that, although it might not seem very nice, there was quite a bit of fun to be had during the couple months we spent focusing on this Hillbilly girl and her bumbling husband, right? Well with that in mind, what would the thought of her innocence have brought, other than damage to the narrative we were having such fun with? Regardless of where you stand in regards to her innocence, its only fair to acknowledge that her role had been laid out for her pretty much from the get-go. Kerrigan was its hero the moment she became the victim, could we have honestly entertained the notion that maybe Harding wasn't as much the villain as seemed to befit the story? How fun would that have been? Really?

In the last couple months, the articles about this upcoming movie had comment sections riddled with people mostly bemoaning the current state of Hollywood. Not the scandals, but that it'd even stoop so low as to peddle this kind of white trash story. "White trash" came up repeatedly of course, and while comment sections generally aren't the place to find the best sampling of voices, I personally wasn't able to find a single comment that was anything other than damningly derivative of Hollywood and/or Tonya...certainly not one suggesting the possibility that maybe there was more to this story than what we already knew. But that was always a possibility, wasn't it? The telling of a side that we hadn't heard?

After seeing the flick last night, I passed along my recommendation of it to a friend, commenting that Tonya Harding's guilt might have to be re-thought. In response, I got a chuckling, "Oh I have a hard time believing that!" Which, sure that has to be the prevailing opinion, I'd imagine. But why? Do we really and truly think that we have the kind of information on the subject that'd allow for the most objective, fact-based decision on it? Have many of us ever stopped long enough to have wondered whether or not we did? The line of questioning isn't likely to be met with much more than scoffs by those who've yet to view the movie, but they're questions that end up being well begged and something that the same people may find themselves unwittingly exploring afterward. I sure have been.

In the meantime, this isn't just a great movie, but a great sports movie, detailing an ice skating prodigy who love for skating drove her life, and whose life ultimately served as a testament to just how influential a class system can be that many of us are barely cognizant of even existing. Based off interviews and testimony from the key players in the Kerrigan scandal, watching it brings a much needed sense of balance to the story and will likely leave you amazed at how easily the truth can be blurred when viewed through the lens of sensationalized media coverage.

10/10, great movie that grabs you from its opening scene and will have you entranced throughout.
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Allison Janney Steals The Show In This Wild Biopic!
namashi_111 December 2017
Before I give my thoughts on 'I, Tonya', let me just say two words: Allison Janney. The Multiple Time Emmy-Winning Actress delivers one of the STRONGEST Performances of the year, in her portrayal of LaVona Fay Golden, Tonya Harding's Mother from hell. Janney is pure Oscar-GOLD.

And now coming to the film...

'I, Tonya' like any other sports Biopic, shows us a woman from being a bullied nobody to becoming a somebody in the world of sports. Over-here, we explore Tonya Harding's hardened journey, that is at times powerful & at times exhausting.

'I, Tonya' Synopsis: Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie, in great form) rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband (Sebastian Stan, very good) intervenes.

'I, Tonya' is about Tonya's violent journey, that started from an impossible, no-holds-barred mother to a violent, brutal husband, who eventually ruined her career. But, Tonya is not a victim of her circumstances. Here is a woman, who despite being thrown into a world of ice-skating & rigorous competition, left a strong mark. She may have not done the right things to get to the position she got, but she was a talented personality who had the power to mesmerize & inspire.

Steven Rogers' Screenplay begins superbly & the personal interviews of its characters throughout the film, give it that extra edge. The first-hour is solid & gets into Tonya's world & the people involved with a wicked sense of humor. The second-hour is a little disappointing & overlong, and the sub-plot involving the 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan, Harding's rival and Olympic teammate, offers less impact. The Writing isn't always compelling & takes away some glory from the film, overall. The Dialogue, however, are crackling & foul to the core.

Craig Gillespie's Direction captures all the madness & ambition, with skill. The Director is in good form this time around. Nicolas Karakatsanis's Cinematography & Tatiana S. Riegel's Editing are strongly done. Art & Costume Design, as well as Make-Up, deserve a special mention.

Performance-Wise: Janney is outstanding & is sure to pick up many awards for her portrayal here. I wouldn't be surprised if she takes the Oscar home, next year! Margot Robbie, also is in very form, delivering a credible turn as Tonya. Sebastian Stan is entirely convincing as the violent husband. And Paul Walter Hauser is terrific as Shawn, one of Stan's friends, who leads Tonya & Stan, into much trouble.

On the whole, 'I, Tonya' is an imperfect biopic about an imperfect woman. Do watch it though, especially for Janney's sterling performance.
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Relevant movie
Ini Kim2 January 2018
Why relevant? Until I saw this movie, in my point of view Tonya Harding was a cheat and a lowlife and this was entirely based on the media coverage of the events in 1994. Having seen the movie I feel ashamed about how easily I judged her and I realised I have to be way more careful in forming my opinion about people.
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Janney shines as "mother from hell" but Robbie as "trailer trash" skating champ is all wrong for the part
Turfseer17 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I, Tonya, is director Craig Gillespie's take on the mercurial rise and fall of Tonya Harding, the figure skating champion who threw away her career through her association with an abusive ex-husband. Gillespie tells Harding's story through a series of interviews with the principals, most made up to appear how they might look in the present time, speaking directly to the camera, and insisting that their version of events is the correct one.

The real star of the film is not the actress who plays Tonya (Margot Robbie) but Allison Janney, who steals the show as Tonya's mother from hell, LaVona Golden, a serial psychological abuser, who still manages to garner sympathy through her abrasively witty comments directed toward Tonya throughout her childhood and into adulthood (as well as directed toward us, the enraptured audience). One can't help sense that LaVona heaped abuse on her daughter both out of love and jealousy-love in the sense that she wanted Tonya to be more successful in life than she was (LaVona being a waitress at a greasy spoon) and jealous once Tonya had achieved the fame and recognition that eluded her mother who was nonetheless a highly intelligent woman.

If it wasn't for Janney, I, Tonya, might have been a complete flop, as Robbie, the Australian actress who plays Tonya, is all wrong for the part. This is especially true when Robbie plays Tonya as a teenager-she simply looks too old to be believable. What's worse is how Robbie is unable to convey Tonya's likable qualities-that odd mixture of naivety and "trailer trash" aggression that initially endeared the public to her. Instead, Robbie comes off as too harsh, compromising her attempts to convey Tonya's more vulnerable side. While Robbie is an accomplished skater (and this is probably the reason why she was cast), I think it was a big mistake for Gillespie to use her for that reason. Without a compelling protagonist, the necessary verisimilitude is lost.

Gillespie's approach, akin to the Japanese classic, Rashomon, works best when Tonya's and husband Jeff Gillooly's differing points of view are contrasted in high relief. Gillooly denied that he ever physically assaulted Tonya but that seems highly unlikely as Tonya's description of what happened has the ring of truth. At a certain point, Tonya had enough of the abuse and decided to walk away from Gillooly-she even had to get a restraining order as he continued to stalk her (once putting a gun to her head, threatening to shoot her). But why did Tonya feel that she needed to go back to Gillooly after separating?-even though she claimed it was only a temporary arrangement. Despite being on the verge of complete success in the skating world, the old demons reared their ugly head-her crushing insecurities from her mother's put-downs and lack of a father figure-this led to her inevitable fall from grace.

The bizarre plot to injure Tonya's rival, Nancy Kerrigan concocted by Gillooly's moronic pal, Sean Eckhardt, is so ludicrous that it's hard to believe that he actually thought he could pull something like this off undetected. I happen to believe both Gillooly and Harding's assertions that they were unaware that the plot was going to turn into a physical attack on Kerrigan. Gillooly insisted the initial plan was to send Kerrigan some threatening letters which might perhaps cause her to withdraw from the tournament or throw her off her game. It makes sense that Gillooly would confront Eckhardt over his lame-brain decision to have one of his confederates actually break Kerrigan's knee cap with a baton, suggesting that Gillooly had no idea what Eckhardt was ultimately up to.

Much of what happens after the attack on Kerrigan, is anti-climactic. Gillespie basically presents a basic recap as to what happened as the story reaches its not so fitful conclusion. Of interest of course are the courtroom machinations, particularly Tonya's decision to take a plea bargain and accept a lifetime ban from figure skating. Benjamin Lee, writing in the Guardian, sums it up perfectly when he writes: "The zippy fun of the first half dissipates once we reach the overly familiar scenes of the second, the focus on the harebrained criminal scheme feeling particularly sub-Coenesque. It's hardly dull but it's not quite as biting and sharply realized as it could be given the wealth of stranger-than-fiction drama surrounding Harding."

With a more convincing protagonist in the lead role, I, Tonya, might have been a tad bit more enjoyable; nonetheless, there's still Janney's performance to marvel at. And for all those who long for nostalgia, Tonya's story will bring you back to the heady days of the early 1990s, a time that feels way distant from our own.
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Hard to watch...
IMDBreview20179 January 2018
I am not a big fan of domestic violence, even if its a retrospective character piece, its hard to stomach. The star of the movie was not Margot Robbie's Tonya, but Alliison Janney, whose protrayal of overbearing/vindictive mother of Harding was uncanny and mesmerizing. The whole movie should have focused more on that dynamic, then the rest of the film. Sebastian's Jeff Gillooly was a little unwatchable, as half the performance was him beating her. Rest of the film was more the aftermath of Nancy Kerrigan incident. Don't expect many scenes with Nancy Kerrigan character, its more a Tonya Harding centric pic. Worth watching on DVD, maybe for Janney's performance.
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An insider view of Tonya Harding
chong_an24 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Tonya Harding is known in figure skating as the 1st woman to land a Triple Axel in competition, but also for her involvement in the physical attack on fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan. This docu-drama is based on interviews from Tonya, her mother, her coach, and some of the co-conspirators, mixing them with re-creations and some historic footage. It shows the difficulty of a poor kid battling into a sport dominated by upper-middle class princesses. While mostly taking the word of the interviewees, the director inserts hints that Tonya may not be as innocent as she claims. There is also an interesting undermining of Tonya's complaint about Nancy being despondent about winning silver at the 1994 Olympics - listen for the placing announcements before the final skate.

This film is 1st runner-up for the People's Choice Awards at the Toronto International Film Festival. However, for me it was marred by the use of music with lyrics at her 1st skating competition, something that would not have been allowed. On the flip side, I can accept the switch in music after she succeeds in her historic Triple Axel, as a switch from skating music to internal emotion.
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The Best Film of the Year
M_Exchange18 December 2017
First, I'm stating that it's the best film of the year, and I just barely care about women's figure skating. So you know that it's phenomenal. For me, it edges out "Dunkirk," which was my favorite 2017 film until the night I saw it.

Director Craig Gillespie is obviously a Scorsese protégé, and unlike Martin McDonagh's cheap ripoff of the Cohen brothers, he manages to pay homage to the man without imitating him. Like Scorsese (and Bob Fosse) he meshes documentary with realistic drama seamlessly well.

Margot Robbie and Sebastian Stan deliver good performances. Allison Janney and especially Paul Walter Hauser deliver OUTSTANDING performances. In fact, I didn't feel like Hauser was even acting as much as he was just BEING. These performances are also a credit to Gillespie.

Almost every scene is well-paced, has little "fat," conveys meaning and adds to the narrative, which indicates great video editing. The editing was so good that I didn't even check the time, which is rare for me. Outstanding pacing.

When I entered the theater, I didn't think that I was going to get even slightly emotional about Tonya Harding's story. But she is truly a sympathetic character without feeling sorry for herself, which is rare nowadays. Nowadays, everyone seems to be competing for who has it worst and who is the most pathetic victim. In Tonya's world, it's just her life, and it's presented as factual rather than maudlin and soap operatic. As Tonya basically says at the end of the film, "s--t happens. Deal with it."
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A Well-Acted Drama
KJ Proulx17 January 2018
As I've said throughout countless reviews in the past, true stories are hardly ever completely honest. The quality of a film that's based on a true story has nothing to do with the fact that the true story was incredible or not because there's no way of knowing if everything's true unless you're the character it's based on. That being said, I, Tonya is one of the latest feature films (based on a true story) to receive a theatrical release. Gaining buzz for awards season, this is a very relevant story for today's climate. Yes, this film was made before all of these allegation stories made their way into the public eye, but I, Tonya deals with this particular notion in a very grand fashion. While I don't particularly like any of the characters throughout this entire movie, here's why I believe this to be a movie that people will love to hate.

Following Tonya Harding, an unlikely figure skater, due to her foul mouth and horrific upbringing, I, Tonya is about her rise to power and continual falls from grace. Falling in love with a man who (deep down) is just as violent a cruel as she is, their relationship finds a way of working out, most of the time. This film asks you to applaud for a despicable woman and try to forget about how she treats the people around her. Yes, she's talented, but it's hard to root for a woman that acts like this, especially when the entire film revolves around her. I'm sure aspects of this story have been exaggerated or made up entirely, but there are clever editing and writing techniques to make certain dramatic sequences quite funny at times.

Margot Robbie, Sebastien Stan, and Allison Janney are all terrific and believable as these characters, with the most notable one being Stan's portrayal of Tonya's husband Jeff. In my opinion, he was the standout of this film, because even though I've seen and enjoyed his performances in the past, most of them fell in comparison to everyone else in each film he appeared in. I'm simply stating that he's the standout to me, due to the fact that I've never seen him deliver a better performance than this and I don't think I ever will. The performances sell this film, but the true star of this movie is the editor (excluding the very off-putting visual effects of the skater's faces).

From cutting seamlessly between scenes with the brilliant use of sound effects, to quick cuts to show the progression of time, to the long takes exploring a character breakdown, there are many technical aspects about this film to gawk at. I found myself enthralled by the way this film was put together in terms of its structure. It's very rare that I leave a movie and find the most interesting aspect to be the editing choices, especially when everything else about the movie is just as great. Quite honestly, aside from a few plot points being brushed over, this was a terrific film from start to finish.

In the end, I, Tonya impressed me on many levels. From its use of fourth wall breaking to each and every performance seeming extremely committed to the use of unique editing, to the direction that seemed calm and focussed throughout the dramatic moments, this is a ride that I believe is worth taking. Although it doesn't quite offer the truth and literally states that certain things may or may not have happened, it's told in a perfect way for a feature film. This movie deserves its award buzz and I believe it's a great movie that people should check out.
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Margot Robbie and Allison Janney nailed their roles!
Harrison Tweed (Top Dawg)12 January 2018
I didn't expect much going into this film... I'm not into figure skating or docu style movies (as per trailer), but I have to say, this one blew me away!

Margot Robbie and Allison Janney just nailed their roles! I'm sure this is Margot Robbie's best performance... she got right into her character. Craig Gillespie's outstanding directing contributes to the greatness of this film.

There isn't anything bad to critique here. I highly recommend seeing this as I'm sure you'll be getting more out of it than you'd expect. A well deserved 8.5 rounded up to a 9/10 from me!
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I, Margot
emirlukac8 January 2018
I, Tonya is a movie about Tonya Harding, professional figure skater who became popular because of the rivarly with Nancy Kerrigan and incident that made her charged for. That situation made Tonya one of the most popular people in USA.

This movie fulfiled my expectation in terms of biographical segment and learning about this case. Margot Robbie portrayal of Tonya is amazing and we can say this is the best performance so far for Margot. She showed different personalities of the main character from childhood to the final performance in the Olympics 1994. Tonya was so unique and she had specific relationships with two of her biggest support and in the same time stumbling stones in her career, her mother and husband. Another pleasant suprise is Allison Janey who just won Golden Globe and will be in the Oscar race. Allison plays Tonya Hardings mother LaVona woman with really strange and sometimes harsh behaviour towards her daghter but in some way she pushed her to be good as she was. Craig Gillespie is director of this movie and he decided to shoot this movie in a little bit cartoonish way but thats what makes this movie funny sometimes. My problem with this movie is that some scenes or should say some situations was repeated so many times in the similar way esspecially towars her relationship with husband Jeff played by Sebastian Stan. This movie is divided in two parts, first part refers to getting to know characters and second is about incident and resolving that case. Second part wants to show us how regular people can be stucked in complicated situation similiar to movie Fargo (1996) but this is where that cartoonish shots is the problem because we cant experience that incident and lawsuit seriously and all looks strange in the end but that is risk when you make a movie about famous person and cases of the past. This movie with all his advantages and disadvantages is decent maybe not what i expected to be but on the other side its not disappointment. Margot is the star of this movie and she is big reason why this movie is good and why we will remember Tonya Harding character and personality. I give this movie 7.7
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Unconventional Bio-Pic
Joe Stemme13 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Director Craig Gillespie's I, TONYA is an unconventional Bio-Pic - so unconventional that the term itself doesn't really apply. Part-Mockumentary, Part-Drama and Part-Dark Satire, TONYA gives us a cracked version of Tonya Harding's life and and the events surrounding the knee-capping of Nancy Kerrigan in the week's leading up to the 1994 Winter Olympics.

TONYA contains not one, but several, unreliable narrators lead by Tonya herself (Margo Robbie), her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) and Tonya's estranged mom LaVona (Allison Janney). The movie is framed with faux interviews with them (and others) - often speaking straight to the camera (a convention which also occurs within scenes in the movie). But, make no mistake, Gillespie and Screenwriter Steve Rogers very much favor Tonya's POV here. It's her slant on the story that takes center ice.

The movie works as well as it does because of the cast and the lure of the lurid true story. Robbie looks nothing like Harding despite hours of makeup (this is made clear when we see clips of the real Harding), but, she enthusiastically takes on the role, giving it a grit and energy that keeps the movie on balance despite some significant bumps along the way. Stan and Paul Walter Hauser (as Gilooly's henchman Shawn Eckhardt) are also fine. More problematic is Janney's LaVona. Janney is a superb actress, but, here she is so over the top that she verges on being a cartoon (unsurprisingly, the real LaVona Golden wasn't interviewed by the filmmakers, so it is little wonder than she comes off the worst of the major characters).

The contrivance of an unreliable narrator isn't a bad concept, but, too often I, TONYA ends up feeling unreliable itself. Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver) is very much shunted to the background (and only utters one word, "Why!??"). To believe I, TONYA you'd think that Kerrigan was some rich Ice Queen in contast to the working class Harding. The truth is that Kerrigan's family was also working class (the Dad working three jobs to pay for her training). It's understood that the movie is from Harding's perspective, but, at a certain point, you have to wonder about the movie's overall authenticity. Matters aren't helped by a certain reluctance on the part of the filmmakers to have dramatic scenes play out. There is some very nasty physical and sexual abuse on display, but, they are often undercut with a wink, a retro song (often not very good selections) or a quip directly at the camera. It's as if the filmmakers are saying to the viewer, "Yes, some bad stuff happened, but, hey, here's a funny aside - you're still having fun and enjoying the movie, ain't ya?!" And, some of the mugging for the camera makes it seem like the cast is auditioning for an off-Broadway production of an early Coen Brothers film.

Despite some major qualms, I, TONYA refreshingly breaks the mold of a Bio-Pic. It's simply too bad that the filmmakers couldn't find a consistent and more thoughtful tone.
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Supporting characters shine, Robbie not so much.
IheartCali588215 January 2018
Can this be called a documentary? A mockumentary? Biopic? At different times throughout the film it felt like it wanted to be any one of all three of these. Still after ending credits rolled, the film didn't stick with me. It was good, and for a handful of scenes very good. However it was never great.

Margot Robbie was the wrong actress for this, with an especially wrong accent. Tonya Harding is not an Eastcoaster, she's from Oregon. Robbie is an average actress at best. Should have been Amy Adams all the way! On the other hand Allison Janney did a great job, and even more so Sebastian Stan as Harding's abusive husband.

This is one of the few movies I believe could have benefited from an additional 15 to 20 minutes of runtime. At 2 hrs runtime that should be enough to forge a strong connection between characters and audience, but that connection never fully developed for me. Less editing may have helped. Different editing choices also. Perhaps more in depth coverage of Harding's childhood and adolescence, and less coverage of every single time she got beat by her husband.

All in all its solid, but not outstanding. With a stronger lead character and different pacing I would have given it a 7.5/10. As it stands now my rating is 6.5/10.
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Great movie, but thats what it is
verepaine12 January 2018
This movie is well worth seeing; for the acting, the direction, the cinematography...

But people please remember this is fiction, made to be entertaining. This is not a history lesson.
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This is a movie about a bidimensional, white trash ice skater - not Tonya Harding.
Scarlet Nouveau26 December 2017
I finally have watched this movie and I can say I am deeply disappointed. I, as a big fan of figure ice skating was really thrilled about this movie and expected much more. If you don't know much about Tonya Harding's story, I suggest you read about her and watch some of her old and new interviews and you'll understand why I didn't like the movie.

One of the reasons is its screen script. There is no "official story" about what happened to Tonya Harding or Nancy Kerrigan. The script was written based on interviews with Tonya and her ex-husband, carried on by the screen writer himself. So, much of what is told in the movie is purely fictional, especially the parts about her mother, since she never agreed to talk to the screen writer or the production staff. Tonya herself said some parts of the movie were inaccurate, and Margot Robbie said that when she first read the script she thought it was about a fictional figure skater, not Tonya Harding.

Besides, many things in this movie remain unexplained. The movie is basically about the verbal, physical and moral abuse Tonya endured throughout her life, but shows too little how Tonya built her athletic and ice skating career. And regarding the Nancy Kerrigan controversy, there isn't much talked about, either. Nancy is just a shadow in this movie, there's nothing about her point of view or how the incident actually affected her or her career. In the end you feel that you don't really know what the life of Tonya Harding the ice skater was really like.

Regarding the direction, I found really tasteless Gillespie's attempt to give a comical tone in the NUMEROUS domestic violence scenes of the movie. The characters break the 4th wall to give the violent scenes a more 'casual' look (because according to Gillespie, Tonya talks about her violent past in a very casual manner), but cinematographically this 'casual tone' didn't work - it only makes it look like the movie romanticizes abuse and underestimates its impact on a woman's life. Also, the whole sarcastic/comical tone of the movie made it feel superficial, boring and childish. To me, a more serious approach to Tonya's life would be more appropriate.

And regarding Margot Robbie's performance, I found it very disappointing and amateurish. Regardless the fact that she's not as bulky or athletic as the real Tonya, she played a white trash, foul-mouthed Tonya Harding that never existed. Her interpretation of a redneck is purely stereotypical. Also, I don't know where Robbie's accent came from, since real-life Tonya doesn't have that strong southern accent - she's from Portland, come on! It's an annoying accent that appears and disappears throughout the movie, alongside with the numerous bad words (some of them included by Robbie herself) and a very artificial, rude way to talk that Harding didn't have. Robbie didn't convince me and made me feel NOTHING for her character.

On the other side, Allison Janney is BRILLIANT as Tonya's mother. She could flawless play a sociopath, and truly deserves at least an Oscar nomination as a supporting actress. Another good surprise in this movie is Paul Walter Hauser's acting.

To sum it all up, this is a mediocre movie, that didn't entertain me (how am I supposed to find funny a story with so much domestic violence?), and didn't move me. It also barely tells who in fact Tonya Harding was. It is a superficial, bidimensional portrait of a woman who's surely much more complex than what was shown in the movie.
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Not an monster...
Jon Ochiai15 January 2018
"I, Tonya" is amazing. Margot Robbie gifts a career defining performance. Margot plays disgraced 1994 US Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding. Her performance as Tonya is fearless, vulnerable, sad and poignantly flawed. Harding is notorious for knowing about the attack upon US figure skating Champion Nancy Kerrigan which led to her eventual ban from competitive skating which was her life.

Director Craig Gillespie neither vilifies nor justifies Tonya offering the experience of being her. That she wanted to be was loved, to be gotten, and to be the best. At the time Tonya was the only women's figure skater in the world to land the impossible triple axel in competition. Robbie as Tonya in an interview in the movie acknowledged when she landed the triple axel in the trials she knew, "I was the best!" Tonya was driven, the figure skating phenom, but she was less than phenom in her life. I think that is the poignancy of Gillespie's direction and Steven Rogers's story.

"I, Tonya" is not really dark comedy. "I, Tonya" is just dark with laughs in its irony and the stupidity of those closest to Tonya. The movie is the dichotomy that defines the tragedy of domestic violence and abuse. In one scene Tonya's husband Jeff, played by convincing Sebastian Stan, slams the freezer door in Tonya's face, because she questions why he didn't buy Dove ice cream bars. That is so wrong. That makes you so angry.

Gillespie depicts that pattern of abuse throughout of beating on screen. And Tonya takes it, and stays until she can no longer. The abuse originates with Mom LaVona, played by focused Allison Janney, who thinks she is tough love as she pushes her daughter in her skating career. No, Mom is an abuser. Janney's LaVona could have been comic caricature; instead she brilliantly nuances the single Mom working waitress raising her kid the way she was raised. Robbie is touching humanity as Tonya, who has the self awareness that she is uneducated, but she is smarter than she thinks and way smarter than those surrounding her.

"I, Tonya" and Robbie in contrasts of edgy humor and human cruelty touchingly tells the story of how we are raised and the people we choose to spend life with either define or curse. Much about Tonya seems to be the in order to, to prove something. In the great scene before her competition her new Coach Doty, played by strong Bojana Novakovic, tells her "You show them." That I think becomes the conversation that dominates Tonya's life.

Needing her Mom's help after she leaves husband Jeff, Tonya sees her Mom. She asks her Mom that when she was a kid, "Did you love me?" Robbie's Tonya is in tears. That breaks your heart. Really Tonya just wanted to be loved, like we all do. That may be the point of Gillespie's "I, Tonya" with all its emotional extremes and uncomfortable laughs. Perhaps, most of the laughs come from the blatant stupidity of Jeff and his idiot friend Shawn, played by good Paul Walter Hauser.

Maybe "I, Tonya" works in its profound sadness as well. Toward the end Tonya says, "I am not a monster." No, she's not. She is just the little girl who wanted to be loved and never got it. She was driven and wanted to be the best. Tonya is just human. She is both lightness and darkness. Perhaps within "I, Tonya" are loud laughs and the subtle lesson of having compassion. "I, Tonya" is one of my favorite movies of the year.
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Best movie in a few years
realgaryh12 January 2018
This is an amazing black comedy/drama that sheds a very factual account of the tragic life of Tonya Harding. Margo Robbie deserves an Oscar for her perfect portrayal of Miss Harding and the life of abuse she encountered. Several Academy Awards will be won from this movie possibly best actress. Don't hesitate to spend $12.00 to see this piece or art!
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Extremely Involving Movie That Tells a Crazy but True Story With Equal Parts Tragedy and Comedy
CANpatbuck36648 January 2018
I wasn't old enough to process Tonya Harding's story when it was going on, so I can only describe this movie as a fresh face. I loved how this movie played into the wild and varied accounts about Tonya's life. Instead of presenting one version and calling it "the truth" (which Harding even talks about through voice over in the final scene), they present different accounts through Harding (played by Margot Robbie), Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) and LaVona Golden (Allison Janney) and the movie is very ambiguous about what happened. This was refreshing, the story is just so bizarre no matter whose account you choose to believe. It allows the creative team the freedom to cherry-pick what they want to show, and I was constantly engaged. Normally I'm critical when the stray from the facts in a biopic but no one will ever "actually" know what happened, so the movie has some fun with it without straying into implausibility.

So, knowing that the movie toys with the story a little, I still was floored by the characters and the character development. Tonya Harding, whether she was guilty or not, became a sympathetic in my eyes. I'm not saying that what she did was right or that Kerrigan deserved it (that shouldn't even be a question) but with the kind of upbringing she had, was she going to be an emotionally stable adult? I would say no. Even though the world decided she was the villain, her work ethic and her perseverance made her endearing to me. Gillooly and Golden are villains and they're monsters but the movie makes them characters that you want to follow. Add in one of the dumbest characters I've seen on screen in Shawn (Paul Walter Hauser) and a surprisingly informative narrator in Martin Maddox (Bobby Cannavale) and you have a movie populated by unforgettable characters that all have a surprising amount of depth.

I've talked about the characters and how closely the movie sticks to the facts, but I wanted to add how sharp of a script I think this was. The movie is hilarious at points and it just breaks your heart at others. The dialogue is always sharp (even though its vulgar as h@!!) and I found the movie suspenseful throughout. They also present serious issues like spousal/familial abuse in a different light. Tonya faces violence daily and instead of stopping the movie to show it, its very much treated as an everyday occurrence. It is shocking and every time you're starting to have too much fun, it just sobers you up completely. It was a bold but effective choice to show how screwed up her life was. Add in the great 4th wall breaking and narration from different characters, they really produced something special with this.

The script was great, but Gillespie and his team shot the crap out of this too. The skating and action scenes are dynamic with the camera constantly moving and showing things from different angles. What Tonya and the other skaters do as athletes is an art and the movie shows that. I also thought the movie was gritty but had a sense of style. There's also a neat shot showing the passage of time after one of Tony and Jeff's breakups that weaves things together beautifully. Instead of just skating by, the movie committed to making things exciting from a visual standpoint.

I, Tonya has also garnered some deserved praise for the actors and actresses. Even as a fan, I was blown away by Margot Robbie as Tonya. She doesn't look like Harding, but her performance has so much emotion and effort in it that she capably carries this movie. She's probably going to get an Oscar nomination for this and she deserves it. She's got tons of talent and I hope she gets more roles like this. I was expecting great things from Robbie, but the surprising performance was Sebastian Stan as Jeff. He really did great work, he's the underrated one in this cast. He capably plays Jeff as a slimy/bad guy but complex nonetheless. Allison Janney is just evil as LaVona and she's also deserving of the praise/award recognition for her work. She's so awful but you can't turn away because of Janney's performance. Paul Walter Hauser is perfect in the worst way for Shawn. He's so stupid and Hauser plays up the idiocy of the character so well. I also liked Bobby Cannavale in his small role, he's a nice mix of sleazy and funny that helps round out the story.

I only have 1 criticism of this movie and its not the one that most of the reviews have. The biggest complaint I've heard about the movie is the CGI in the skating sequences, that its obvious that they've put Margot Robbie's head on another skater. I didn't think it was a seamless effect, but I never had a problem with it. My problem was that they made the decision to have Robbie and Stan play the 15-16 year old versions of Harding and Gillooly and while I get it would have been an awkward transition (by the end of the movie, Harding is only 23 so how else could they have done it?) I still found it hard to buy them at those points. I don't want to blame the actors, but it just came off as a rare misstep for a largely flawless movie.

This is one of 2017's best movies for me. It was highly praised and after seeing it, I think rightly so. I think the acting, direction and script were all impressive and the movie came together to be something worth going to see. I wish it had a bigger release, I had to go out of my way to see this but I, Tonya is a great sports biopic that breaks the mold. Check this out if you get the chance.
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Glib Retelling of a Sensational Story
evanston_dad5 January 2018
I remember well the whole Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan story (I was just graduating from high school when it all went down), and I was very intrigued to see how a movie would portray it all. At the time, I mostly just remember being done with the whole thing by the time it had played itself out. I was so sick of everybody involved, Kerrigan included, and it all just seemed so sleazy and embarrassingly American. The movie made me feel much the same way. These were trashy people living a trashy life style doing trashy things, and despite the film's clear intention to do so, it isn't able to wring much moral significance from the whole episode.

Margot Robbie does a fine job in the lead role, avoiding the temptation to do a simple impersonation and instead trying her hardest to turn Tonya Harding into a three-dimensional character. The film limits her success, however, because of its dogged determination to remain glib and cartoonish and play the whole thing like a big joke that the audience is in on. This is weirdly at odds with choices the director, Craig Gillespie, makes at various points in the movie, like giving Tonya monologues about how she's a different person than the media would have us believe, or one uncomfortable scene during which Robbie addresses the movie audience directly and tells us that we collectively are as responsible for persecuting Harding as her abusive husband or monstrous mother. If handled differently, moments like these could have made this film a reflexive examination of America's unhealthy relationship with the media and its obsession with fame, however earned. But the movie is too eager to be a crowd pleaser to dwell for long on anything too serious, so it rushes on to its next bit of comedy and ends up doing to Tonya Harding exactly what it accuses its audience of.

In addition to Robbie, Allison Janney is getting a heap of acclaim for her performance as Harding's mother, an absolute horror of a woman. She hits the marks she's asked to hit, but it's a shame that such a talented actress as Janney isn't given more to work with than the gross caricature she's given here. On the other hand, Sebastian Stan, as Tonya's buffoon of an on-again-off-again husband, gives a great performance that no one seems to be talking about.

"I, Tonya" is entertaining, but it doesn't deserve to be remembered in the same company as some of the best films of 2017.

Grade: B+
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"Goodfellas" meets the ice skating world and it's awesome!
John Plocar3 January 2018
Going right into another sports movie; this is if someone were to make a "Goodfellas" styled film about a professional ice skater, but snorted a little extra cocaine. It is insane and amazingly edited. Hilarious, surprising that this is an actual true story, and in the end I won't lie that I held back some tears just from Margot Robbie's performance alone. If I had a small gripe, it would be some of the CGI used; while not necessarily bad, it was noticeable at times. Other than that, I loved this movie from beginning to end.
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micahv8-149-784913 January 2018
No Spoilers

Considering the level of involvement Tonya Harding herself had in the attack, it is disgusting and irresponsible that she is being portrayed as a victim here!!

Granted, back in 1994 she played dumb and acted like she didn't know anything about the attack. However, over 2 years ago new evidence came to light that proves she was heavily involved in the planning of the attack from the get-go!

The fact that this movie tries to paint her as a victim is a gross misrepresentation of the facts! She was a conniving, manipulative, sore loser that exhibited the epitome of poor sportsmanship! Karma lucked her butt; and doesn't deserve our sympathy, nor any income from this movie!
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Make up your mind! What kind of movie are you making?
DJWinston31 December 2017
What kind of movie was this supposed to be? Because it bounced back and forth between dead-on realism (Rawlinson) and raw violence (domestic and parental) to satire? (Harding's interview recreations) and absurdist comedy (Eckardt - good lord!) to the point where I just didn't know what the filmmaker(s) were trying to accomplish. I learned nothing new about Harding's story here, so maybe my POV on the story was the target? If so, you need to pick a tone and stick to it. Because I felt continually jerked around, I came out of this movie within antagonism toward the whole enterprise and sympathy for none.

And as for the acting, I personally thought Robbie was terribly miscast as Harding---didn't believe her for a moment, and Janney, while competent and entertaining, can play this type of supporting role in her sleep and did nothing here to convince me otherwise.

I just ended up feeling that maybe this movie was better suited for the Lifetime TV channel--although even there a couple of reality TV documentaries have told the same story in a more interesting manner.
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