Based on the true story and directed by Craig Gillespie, I, Tonya follows American figure skater, Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie), and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history. A competitive ice skater, Harding was the first American woman to complete a triple axel in competition, but her future is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband (Sebastian Stan) intervenes. Now, her legacy has forever been defined by her association with the infamous and ill-conceived 1994 attack on fellow Olympic competitor, Nancy Kerrigan.
With a documentary-style narrative that allows its characters to break the fourth wall and address the audience directly, the true story of Tonya Harding is told brilliantly. Telling the story from various viewpoints, you never know which narrator to trust as the conflicts between what is the truth constantly fight off of each other.
Margot Robbie is exceptional in the lead, highlighting Tonya’s strong but often comical attitude and outspoken personality whilst also spending the time to show the effects of her troubled private life. With Allison Janney playing her mother, as well, the two work together really well, and it’s incredibly insightful to learn more about their relationship.
Whilst Robbie undeniably skates to the top spot in this film, it is Harding’s story that makes it so investing. As much as her past is often neglected in regards to her actions and the film highlights how her abuse was made out to be comical, the film also balances out this unfair view and shows just how much of a tragedy her own experiences were at the same time.
Maybe some more time could have been spent on Nancy Kerrigan’s side of the story as what was done to her is very much pushed aside, but I think the media had her back plenty at the time of the incident so I suppose it depends on your personal standpoint on what happened. And whether you believe Harding’s story or not, maybe it was time for her not to be seen as the antagonist after a very long time of her being portrayed that way.