Film Column: 'I, Tonya' an entertaining rideBy Parker Aniszewski | 02/14/2018 8:49am
Even though I wasn’t alive when this crime happened, everyone knows about the attack on Nancy Kerrigan right before the 1994 winter Olympics. Right before the OJ Simpson trial, this was the biggest crime and news event of the year. Yet, somehow I knew very little about what actually happened or about the people involved in this attack. Luckily for me, the 1990s have officially become far enough back that we will start to see more and more biopics about events and people alive during the 1990s. Tonya Harding, at one point in time, was the most famous female athlete in the world, and the story of her fall was wildly more entertaining than I expected.
"I, Tonya" stars Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding, following her life from the age of 4 all the way to the present day. Robbie as Harding is as amazing as you would imagine. The way in which she switches between anger, sadness, happiness and shame all within the same scene is truly remarkable. One scene in particular stood out to me, when Harding is having troubles with her equipment right before the Olympics. In the scene, she is staring at herself in the mirror, switching between crying and forced happiness. It’s heartbreaking and hard to watch, yet it earned Robbie an Oscar nomination off that scene alone.
The supporting cast of the movie all do their jobs – some better than others, however. The two standouts for the supporting cast are Allison Janney as LaVona Golden, Harding’s mother, and Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gillooly, Harding’s on-again, off-again husband. Janney is the clear standout however, her uncaring, cruel and unflinching portrayal of Harding’s mother really helps add reasoning for the actions of Harding. She is surprisingly funny in the film too, having many laugh out loud moments. Many of those moments can be chalked up to the film's excellent writing as well as the great delivery by Janney. In a packed year for acting Oscars however, I don’t think she’ll take home the prize. Sebastian Stan plays Jeff Gillooly, who gives a very hateable performance, while also being weirdly sympathetic at unexpected times. The rest of the cast do exactly what they’re supposed to do – make the world feel believable. There really weren’t any other standouts, but no one was so bad that it became obvious.
Besides some horrible CGI at times, this is a well acted film around a really interesting event in history. The film is shot in a very odd way, where the director had all of the actors that played the real people record interviews like it was present day, talking about what happened to their characters.The filmmakers decided to explore the idea of multiple truths through the movie, which really added to the seemingly straightforward narrative. I really enjoyed this film; it’s one everyone should check out at home, not necessarily in theaters.