Tonya Harding

"I, Tonya" tells the story of infamous figure skater, Tonya Harding.

There is a way to tell Tonya Harding's side of the story, and "I, Tonya" isn't it.

"I, Tonya" tells the story of Tonya Harding, the disgraced figure skater infamously wrapped up in the attack on fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan in the lead-up to the 1994 Olympic Games. A media firestorm erupted following the attack, and as facts came out that Harding's husband Jeff Gillooly was involved in orchestrating the attack, Harding was painted as a villain.

"I, Tonya" tries to show Harding's side of the story. It details her abusive upbringing in an attempt to make audiences understand the lengthy and often-overlooked context behind Harding's life and the incident.

If even a fraction of the events of Harding's life that the movie depicts actually happened (the characters occasionally break the fourth wall to let audiences know that a scene really happened or didn't), Harding had a rough childhood. But trying to convince audiences to feel sympathy for her is a daunting task. I wasn't alive in 1994 and didn't learn about Harding until a couple years ago, but already I've been trained that Harding is the bad guy.

However, the movie doesn't overreach and try to make Harding innocent. While there are genuine moments of heartbreak, particularly when Harding is younger (and not played by Margot Robbie), as she grows older, it seems Harding becomes almost complicit with her terrible situation. I left the theater feeling confused about whether I was victim-shaming or not.

The movie's approach to Harding's story doesn't help the situation, as mental abuse paired with condescending narration and dark humor that paints Harding as an anti-heroine left me questioning whether I should find the situation upsetting or not.

The disconnect in emotions and inconsistent tone are not the only problems that detract from the movie. Stylistic cinematography is ruined with sloppy editing, a timeline that sporadically jumps around and noticeably-bad visual effects that take the viewer out of the film on more than one occasion.

I understand if Margot Robbie is not able to tackle advanced skating techniques, but if a director is going to pull off long, sustained tracking shots of Harding during her on-ice performances, it's important to be able to digitally replace Robbie's face on the stunt-double's head without it looking like an early-2000s video game.

Margot Robbie is sufficient for the role, bringing enough emotion for the few scenes of emotional outburst. Unfortunately, due to either the script's unusual take on the dark events or Harding's personality, her performance often seems held back. 

Sebastian Stan as Gillooly and Allison Janney as LaVona Golden, Harding's cruel mother, bring more impactful performances. With less depth than Harding, however, they narrow down to one or two basic character traits. Combined with the movie's dark-humor approach, it's difficult to identify with the characters. Golden in particular has virtually no redeemable qualities, and though Janney fully commits to the role, a dynamic character she is not.

Going in, I expected a compelling argument to change my mind on Tonya Harding, a weak view I held based solely on a ten-minute abbreviated recap of the Nancy Kerrigan events. Leaving, I felt like I had greater context of Harding's life, but no stronger opinion one way or the other. Rather than leaving me angered or steadfast in my resolve, the movie just left me feeling gross and confused.

Recommended for you

(2) comments

shelljami000

At my early 40’s, as a wife and mother that has enjoyed a peaceful and successful marriage for 15 years, I vividly saw the failure and success of my parent’s failed marriage, why it fell apart for almost 30 years.
As an adult, I learned that my parent can be united again spiritually. Eventhough other method failed over the years I stood tall and intervene with determination.
On my quest to achieving spiritual intervention, I met Dr. Wakina Love Temple via: dr.wakinalovetemple@gmail.com who clarified my vision and mission by pointing out thoroughly the reasons why my parent couldn’t settle in marriage and why they couldn’t find love elsewhere.
Tears of joy rushed down our faces days after the completion of the spell as our Dad traveled over 2,000km to make peace with our Mom. It was a beginning of a new era watching them grow old together forever in love.
We couldn’t thank Dr. Wakina enough for visualizing our dream and adding more years to our parent.
At the end, I learned that it’s always good to put your visions into practice.

caroline webb

URGENT GENUINE LOVE-SPELL TO GET YOUR EX BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND OR husband/wife BACK FAST.
I have something to share with you!!! There is a great joy in my heart
which I want to share with everyone. My name is Caroline Webb from united States. I had a misunderstanding with my lover last year which led us to
break up and he never wanted to hear my voice again. He saw a beautiful
woman which he find more prettier than me, but as time went on I met god Dr lucky He is a great spell caster. I contacted him through his email and
explained everything to him. He said that I shouldn't worry, that my lover
will come back to me on his knees begging for forgiveness before 24
hours.My greatest joy now is that he actually came back to me and fell on
his knees begging for forgiveness, and today we are happy and he also cured
my Sister's breast cancer. Do you have any problem? worry no more because
Dr lucky can provide lasting spell solution to any problems:email him luckysolutiontemple@gmail.com or call him +2348070980389 or add him on whats- app +2348070980389

(1)If you want your ex back.

(2)You want to be promoted in your office.

(3)If you want to be cured of HIV, Cancers and other diseases.

(4)You want to be rich.

(5)You want your husband/wife to be yours forever.

(6)If you need financial assistance.

(7)If you went to get pregnant.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.