I, Tonya: Movie Review

Before the 2018 Winter games had everyone talking about the Olympics, people were talking about Tonya Harding and the 1994 Winter Olympic Games. More than 20 years after one of the most infamous incidents in sports history, people are still trying to understand Tonya Harding and her involvement in the attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan.

I, Tonya, starring Margot Robbie as the titular role, tries to tackle the truth behind the mystery of this event. Replicating real interview tapes from the investigation, and following the story as both Tonya Harding and ex-husband Jeff Gillooly tell it, I, Tonya shows a side of the story many never considered. After Nancy Kerrigan was hit with a baton during one of her training sessions for the Winter Olympics, Tonya Harding became one of the most hated people in America- if not in the world. I, Tonya forces viewers to consider Tonya for what she is: a victim of abuse and circumstance.

The themes of physical and emotional abuse, both from a parent and spouse, in I, Tonya would seem to make an incredible drama film. But this biopic does not limit itself to one genre- it is comedic, dramatic, action-packed, saddening, and more. Margot Robbie has earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Tonya Harding, and it is well deserved. As she breaks the fourth wall, Robbie manages to make a sad situation comedic, and vice versa. The movie seems to be a fight between Harding and her mother, Harding and Jeff Gillooly, Harding and the world.

At the beginning of her career, Harding was criticized for her unconventional lifestyle and unconventional looks. Through years of training, sewing her own costumes, and portraying a perfect family life that she did not have, Harding became one of America’s sweethearts. But her involvement with Jeff Gillooly ruined her image, and her potential knowledge of the attack on Nancy Kerrigan ruined her career. Years after the incident, Harding is a mother who wants to be remembered for her skating, and nothing else. Though I, Tonya has brought the 1994 incident back into the spotlight, it has also reminded people of the skill that Harding displayed in her prime, which Harding is thankful for.

I, Tonya is nominated for three Academy Awards. For more information, watch the trailer here.