I, Tonya (2017), Dir. Craig Gillespie

I, Tonya (2017), Dir. Craig Gillespie
America. They want someone to love, but they want someone to hate.
— Tonya Harding, I, Tonya (2017)

Stars: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Julianne Nicholson, Bobby Cannavale, Caitlin Carver, Paul Walter Hauser, Mckenna Grace, Maizie Smith, Jason Davis.
Director: Craig Gillespie
Screenplay: Steven Rogers

We certainly love to hate; with enthusiastic abandon. We certainly love to love, until we see a little opening to scandal, to the underbelly, to a story and then all hell breaks loose. Tonya Harding could have been our underdog, the girl with nothing who stands out like a sore thumb, but instead we used her upbringing against her and bashed her in the kneecaps—oh, wait.

Her talent was breathtaking, and Margot Robbie brought that to life with her own unmistakable talent. Every gesture, inflection, hopeful stare screams her character. It is a role of a lifetime and for her to be playing this character so early in her career is an exciting reassurance that we will be seeing many amazing roles to come. Sebastian Stan (playing Jeff Gillooly) also has a breakout performance, finally the heavy metal Bucky arm has been removed and he can rise to the challenge that his talent allows.

Every piece of this tragedy emulates the time so well, the era screams to life so authentically that you believe that you can change the outcome of her plight. The grain against the conflicting skating costumes is a delight, the use of older period music is clever; it creates a full world that our characters are only a tiny piece in yet they are able to capture the interest of so many.

My main issue with I, Tonya is that the 'I' feels a little undeserved. Tonya while the protagonist becomes somewhat agency less once the men in her life take a brunt of the narrative trajectory. Sure, they have a large responsibility to the tragedy which is Tonya's demise, however instead of placing the focus on their actions, have it from Tonya's perspective. Robbie deserves the perspective; Harding deserves the perspective.

★ ★ ★ ★