Movie Review: I, Tonya

Jean-Paul’s Rating: 5/5 stars

Bottom Line: Being better than everyone means nothing if they don’t want you in their club. The press is horrible. The 24 hour news cycle is toxic. You are also horrible. This movie tells you all of that in a really funny and entertaining way.

All of you probably know of Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie), but do you really KNOW Tonya Harding? Probably not. Even “the incident”, which was played ad nauseum and is the only reason most people even knows of Tonya Harding, has a different retelling for just about everyone who “remembers” it. “I, Tonya” retells her story fairly and respectfully and hilariously using much of the real words of the real individuals. The hilarity stems mostly from the fact that everyone involved with Tonya was a complete moron and incapable of doing anything right. Except her mom, LaVona Golden (Allison Janney). She is a straight devil. But also hilarious in ways that should make you cringe when you know this movie character is a real person.

This film is superbly acted and both Margot Robbie and my super crush Allison Janney deserve their nominations. Especially Allison Janney. Even Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gilooly probably deserved a best supporting actor nomination. The other Oscar nomination is for best editing and again, very deservedly so. The film is shot in a mocumentary style very fitting for its comedic story. The director also makes judicious use of breaking the fourth wall. Editing for a film like this has to be exacting in order to make the shots both believable and seamless. All the more amazing is the fact that the movie really tackles some serious social issues like class and domestic violence and the media and you. Yes you. You are a horrible person.

You can’t help but feel a little sad for Tonya Harding after watching “I, Tonya”. She was dealt a horrible hand. Bad family. Bad husband. Not too bright. Entire U.S. Figure Skating association against her solely because of her background. Her entire life was pretty much destroyed and she probably didn’t deserve to be for the sins she committed. But could she skate! She was probably the single best skater in her time. She was the first American woman to land the triple axle jump in competition. To understand how rare that feat is, she did that in 1991. The first woman to land a triple axle in the Olympics just did so in 2018. Only eight women total have accomplished this feat. So yeah. Big deal.

It is rare to come out of a movie and feel so delighted. And guilty. But mostly delighted. “I, Tonya” is easily one of the best movies of 2017 and probably will be up there for 2018 as well. Get to the theaters while you can and if you miss it, be sure to subscribe to whatever streaming service picks up this gem.

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