I, Tonya, is a biographical film directed by Craig Gillespie and written by Steven Rogers. There has been so much publicity and research into the Tonya Harding Saga, I wanted no parts of any future stories depicting the ups and downs or the rights and wrongs of the haves vs. the have none. Because of the Oscar nominations, I was destine to see I, Tonya. I’m glad I did.
I, Tonya, opens in 1970 when Tonya (Maizie Smith [age 4] / Margot Robbie [older adult] / Mckenna Grace [young adult]) was 4 years old. Taken to an ice skating rink by her abusive mother Lavona Fay Golden (Allison Janny) who also took Tonya out of school to persue ice skating full time and employed a full time coach for Tonya, Diane Rowlinson (Julianne Nicholson). Before long, Tonya becomes one of the best ice skaters in the US. By the age of 15, she starts to date 18 year old Jeff Gillooly (Sebastion Stan) and despite his abusiveness and her mother’s disapproval, she marries him anyway. The abuse gets worse but Tonya forges on becoming the first and only skater to accomplish a 2 triple Axel jump in competition. Tonya hires a new coach for the 1992 Winter Olympics after a fight with Diane but comes in 4th. Tonya’s status is viewed by the judges as White uneducated trash with a challenged wardrobe and a loud mouth. Her husband, Jeff cooks up a scheme to scare rival skater, Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver) but the plan backfires, Nancy is badly injured and Jeff ends up arrested. Tonya and Jeff divorce as Tonya is banished from ice skating for life.
While I, Tonya is a true story, this version goes more into the details as they actually happened, giving the audience a more descriptive account and timeline than any of the previous movies about Tonya I’ve seen. If the motive here is to drum up sympathy and understanding into the plight of Tonya’s life and circumstances, I think I, Tonya accomplished that goal. The movie managed to be entertaining as well as clear up any questions you may still have about the whole Nancy/Tonya saga. The problem is, at this point you just might not care. I still highly recommend this movie. Check it out!
[I, Tonya received Oscar nominations for Best actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Editing]