I have been anticipating I, Tonya for way too long. A Coen Brothers style look into the mysterious knee bashing in the high stakes world of figure skating? I mean concept alone that is buckwild. Add onto that a killer cast (Robbie, Janney, my future husband Sebastian Stan) and I was pushing all my friends to join me opening night. I was ready for some 90’s fashion and pop music. And I, Tonya delivered.
As I mentioned, this is a crazy story to tell. While I was too young to remember, the “incident” as it is referred to, is still relatively fresh in the minds of the public. Murky at best, the film manages to look at potentially the most “feasible” version of events, while making it clear that we are hearing this story from a fair amount of unreliable narrators. You question the mental stability and sanity of pretty much every character. It reminded me of a darker Logan Lucky but instead of being redneck geniuses, they’re all just rednecks.
The movie did a lot to attempt to make Harding a more sympathetic figure. She grew up in an abusive household, moved out to live with an abusive husband, even though bother her mother and ex-husband deny this. It is physically painful to watch her home life, which they attempt to make lighter by Tonya’s punchy dialogue “Nancy gets hit one time, and the whole world shits… For me, it’s an all-the-time occurrence!”.
Once the film is wrapping up, Robbie has the opportunity to bring down the camp and deliver some really awesome scenes, whether it is the last interaction with her and her mother, or Tonya’s heartfelt breakdown in the courtroom, it is a reminder that this isn’t just a lighthearted romp, this is a true story with victims and lasting damage. While I don’t think they completely nailed the tonal shift, it wasn’t so clunky as to distract me from my appreciation of the film. 9.5/10
PS- Paul Walter Hauser as Shawn. That is all.