About – Tonya Harding, an ice-skater who rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, while her future is on the line because of her ex-husband.
Having no background knowledge on Tonya Harding or the ‘incident’ she was involved in is totally fine. As long as you know something dramatic happened and she’s an ice-skater that is pretty much all you need to know before walking into this screening. Everything that you see on-screen is fitting enough for you to feel content as the ending credits start.
The film opens with direct, down the lens interviews by Tonya (Margot Robbie), Jeff (Sebastian Stan) Tonya’s ex-husband and LaVona (Allison Janney) Tonya’s mother. These interviews continue throughout the film as the plot thickens. Secondly, is the actual portrayal and narrative of Tonya Harding.
The fourth-wall is broken, this is when characters speak to us directly, while in the narrative. As Tonya’s coach turns and says to us “this actually happened” while Tonya trains just like she saw in the Rocky films. This type of narrative adds comedy and reassurance to the film, making it seem more real from each character’s perception.
The camera angles and shots were unbelievable, it felt like an action movie without any action involved, especially when we see Tonya on the ice. These scenes are driven by fast-pace ‘action’ shots, close-ups and intimate conversations in small rooms.
I, Tonya is without a doubt, about domestic violence and how this can change or make a person. There is a very thin line between a domestic violence film and a dramatic bio-pic comedy that shows domestic violence. As in one scene, there is a knife thrown towards Tonya through anger and arguments, ending in silence. The projector and air conditioning making the only noise within the cinema. Then the film cuts to LaVona being interviewed “well… all families have their ups and downs don’t they”. By breaking down the seriousness of the domestic violence, we are now laughing at the coldness of LaVona. The screenplay creates this thin line to make the comedy element and domestic violence seem more real for the characters to evolve on-screen and the audience to have a sense of knowingness for each character.
Each performance was amazing, Margot Robbie did an outstanding portrayal on Tonya. She created something very special, in every scene Margot was in character and there was no fault. The performance that stole the film and we remember the most when the film ends, is Allison Janney. She looked completely different and stole the show by her wicked mothering character.
The soundtrack is another element that adds to the comedy side. The music plays with our emotions, mostly tapping our feet or smiling due to the circumstances that Tonya is in. The music fits perfectly into the scenes, they were thought out brilliantly. The soundtrack carries the film from one scene to the next making it relatable to the red-neck community and the audience that knows the piece of music.
I, Tonya captivates the rawness of true red-necks that just want to prove to the world that they’re as human as everyone else. Tonya is just like her mother, without her even realising. The unbelievable part about the film, is that we forget that this is a true story, that this actually happened. When all Tonya wanted to do ever since she was four was to skate on the ice.