meagan’s review published on Letterboxd:
When I first saw the trailer for I, Tonya, I honestly thought it was a fictional story. Although I must note that I am a 2001 baby and did not live through many world-renowned 90s scandals like “the incident” (as referred to in the film) and the O.J. Simpson trial.
After doing further research I found myself sympathizing for Nancy and demonizing Tonya and any associates in the scandal. Despite this, I am also a Margot Robbie fan so I listened to her opinion as well and considered taking account of the environment Tonya was placed in and how the media might have wrongfully depicted her.
I could already tell that this film wasn’t going to be one of those shitty biopics that feel like they’re made for the sole purpose of showcasing the real people at the end credits. In fact, this film can easily be depicted as a mockumentary or even a drama surrounding Tonya Harding’s life, masked under comedy (think The Truman Show).
Might I add that this humor isn’t rooted from the abuse as most people complain. In my personal opinion, the abuse displayed in this film portray Tonya as strong and quite easily a face of feminism in a world that hated her.
Both her mother and husband’s abusive actions rooted the overwhelming feeling and frequent theme that Tonya could never amount to anything in this world. Whether it be her mother hiring people to boo her, her husband hitting her for not liking the cakes he bought, or her judges for not liking her homemade dresses, she was constantly belittled and undermined. No one allowed Tonya to become her best self because it was never enough for the world around her.
Tonya Harding was the first woman to ever complete the triple axel successfully, but that fact is blatantly disregarded as the attack on Nancy Kerrigan was covered by the media instead.
I couldn’t help but feel bad for Tonya throughout this film and I think that’s what I love about it. This film doesn’t focus on demonizing Tonya and blaming her for “the incident”. In fact, the most you hear from Nancy Kerrigan is a scream, but of course, there is more development and dissection into the behind the scenes part of the scandal, whether it’s true or not, you pity Harding. This film focuses more on Tonya’s life as a whole both in skating and at home.
I found myself in both extremes of crying tears of joy and wallowing in sadness in watching her complete the triple axel and hearing the final verdict. Ignore this final sentence if you aren’t aware of what happened at court!! Watching Margot Robbie sob as Tonya and beg her judge to give her jail time instead of banning her from skating was absolutely heart wrenching and phenomenal.
I know Margot Robbie will get nominated for Best Actress, but there’s nothing more I want in my heart (at the moment) except for her to win that award. Her five months training in figure skating and improvised sob scene were major factors in making this film even more magical than it already is. The academy and film industry as a whole need to recognize her as a phenomenal actress rather than just another hot body.
This film doesn’t necessarily display Margot as beautifully as she is in The Wolf of Wall Street, but she is still gorgeous nonetheless. Might I add that she also isn’t depicted as sexy either, but the focus is on her performance rather than looks as in The Wolf of Wall Street (as mentioned before) and The Big Short. I’d also like to add that Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney were phenomenal as well.
Finally, I’d like to briefly mention the visuals of the film. The shots were beautiful, to say the least, but the way the editors played with the screen sizing was a highlight for me. This film toys with the idea of an unreliable narrator as Tonya, nor the other characters, are seen taking full responsibility for their actions alongside breaking the fourth wall. The proportions are much more square than the rest of the film in these more personal scenes which I loved. I cannot stress how much I loved that enough. The editing was simple, yet meaningful.
All in all, I fell in love with this film. This is the redemption arc Tonya Harding deserves.
#MargotRobbieForBestActress... I SAID WHAT I SAID!