Tag Archives: mckenna grace

I, TONYA (2017) – My rating: 8/10

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]


GIFTED (2017) – My rating: 8/10

Gifted is a heartfelt story about a seven year old who is a mathematical genius.  When someone tells you that, you tend to think algebra, geometry, calculus, trigonometry and maybe algorithms as the child gets older.  Gifted went into areas of mathematics way beyond the average.  I wondered if a child’s brain could truly be capable of handling some of the problems mentioned in the movie.  I found it remarkable that a child’s mind could actually process math as advanced as that.  Their living situation was somewhat unique, complete with an over zealous grandmother who is full of tricks and a dead mother, made for an interesting, suspenseful film with a most adorable child.

After much debate, Mary Adler (Mckenna Grace) starts first grade at a normal school, just outside of Tampa, despite her obvious mathematical genius.  She had already mastered advanced calculus, which her teacher, Bonnie Stevenson, (Jenny Slate) soon discovered. Mary is offered a scholarship to a private school for gifted children. However, her uncle and de facto guardian, Frank Adler, (Chris Evans) turns it down. According to a promise he made to his sister Diane and his knowledge of schools for the gifted, he thought Mary would have a better chance at a “normal” childhood if she stayed right where she was.

Mary’s mother, Diane had been a promising mathematician, dedicated to the Navier–Stokes problem (one of the unsolved Millennium Prize Problems) before committing suicide when Mary was six months old. Mary has lived with Frank ever since. However, Frank’s estranged mother and Mary’s maternal-grandmother, Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) seeks to gain custody of Mary and move her to Massachusetts, believing that Mary is a “one-in-a-billion” mathematical prodigy who should be specially tutored in preparation for a life devoted to mathematics. Frank remains adamant that his sister would want Mary to be in a normal public school and have the childhood she didn’t have. Frank hires a lawyer, Greg Cullen (Glenn Plummer) to fight against his mother in court. Here we learn family secrets and get to see the real character behind the players.  Frank and Mary enjoy a close family relationship with Roberta Taylor, (Octavia Spencer) who is also their landlady and Mary’s part-time caregiver.

From this point on, we see some interesting turns and wonder where Mary should end up.  I found Gifted to be enlightening, interesting and delightful.  Gifted is very well acted (a star is born in Mckenna Grace) and a good family movie.  Check it out!