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REVIEW: ‘I- Tonya’ shares controversial story of figure skater

The+film+%27I-Tonaya%27+tells+the+controversial+story+of+the+Olympian+figure+skater.+
The film 'I-Tonaya' tells the controversial story of the Olympian figure skater.

The film 'I-Tonaya' tells the controversial story of the Olympian figure skater.

Courtesy Hollywood Reporter

Courtesy Hollywood Reporter

The film 'I-Tonaya' tells the controversial story of the Olympian figure skater.

Mia McAuliffe, Staff Writer

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Based on one of the most famous scandals in Olympic history, “I, Tonya” is an exceptional film. It tells the controversial story of figure skater, Tonya Harding, and her involvement in attack of her competition and supposed friend, Nancy Kerrigan.

During her training, Kerrigan was clubbed in the knee by a man, jeopardizing her participation in the 1994 Winter Olympics. Not long after, news came out that Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly and bodyguard, Shawn Eckhardt were behind the attack.

Director Craig Gillespie took this movie in a whole different direction than anyone expected. He casted Margot Robbie as Harding, Sebastian Stan as Gillooly and other incredible actors that made the movie as great as it was. Gillespie’s biopic not only tells the story of the attack on Kerrigan but also Harding’s complicated childhood, making the audience feel shockingly sympathetic towards her.

Harding’s unfortunate childhood shaped her into a dedicated yet harsh human being. Her parents divorced when she was young, leaving her alone with her aggressive and impudent mother (played by Allison Janney). Starting at age three, figure skating became Harding’s life. She even dropped out of high school to skate full time.

Gillespie also does an amazing job emphasizing Harding’s lack of wealth compared to her competitors. Her mother worked a full-time waitress job to pay for Harding’s private coach and other skating necessities. It also showed the audience how determined Harding once was when it came to skating.

The acting really made the movie. Every single actor or actress put so much effort into their roles and it certainly paid off. Robbie perfectly depicts the rough yet hard-working woman Harding was at the time, but to me, the actress that stood out the most was Allison Janney who took on the role of Harding’s mother, LaVona Harding.  

LaVona was ruthless and opinionated woman, constantly pushing Harding to do better. When I say ruthless, I mean she was as harsh as you can get. Janney used this characteristic to its fullest extent, regularly reminding Robbie’s character of her failures and how she needs to be better. She believed this made Harding into a fierce competitor, but it really diminished her self-esteem and hardened her personality.

What I really loved about “I, Tonya” was that it was based on interviews with the real Tonya Harding and Jeff Gillooly. Whether what they said in their interviews was actually true or not, we’ll never know. But the fact that it was based on their words, on their story and their truth is something that I really liked  about this movie.

If you’re looking for your next dark, controversial or just enjoyable movie, “I, Tonya” is certainly one I would recommend. Because of the uncertainty about whether Harding was actually involved in the attack on Kerrigan, everyone has their own idea of the truth. So take a chance on “I, Tonya” and create your truth too.

 

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REVIEW: ‘I- Tonya’ shares controversial story of figure skater